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HE Reformation 

IN France 

Richard Heath. 




BR 370 .H4 1886 

Heath, Richard 

The reforn,ation in France 

(From an old print in the British Museum. 

C^^ Cburclj Prstotn Scries 

II /#S«*^»^ 

Jill 2 1 1^2?' 

THE REFORMATION "%owi^ai>'^ 


from ibo Jlatmi of Jlcform io i\n Ecbocation 



of tbc (Kbict iDf STantes 



iliitJtoi' of ' Ilistoric Landmarlis,^ etc. 



56, Paternoster Row; G5, St. Paul's Churchyard 
AND 164, Piccadilly 


Butler & Tanner. 
Tlie SeUvooi Printinjj Works, 
Frome, and London, 



The Movement for Refoem until the Edict of Nantes. 


I. Prelude 

IT. Day-break 

III. Calvin and Geneva 

IV. Light and Joy flood France . 
V. Tlie Five Scholars of Lausanne . 

VI. The Martyrs and the Psalter 

VII. New Shepherds and a New Fold . 

VIII. The Calvinistic Constitution at Work 

IX. Eeform and ' the Gentlemen of France ' 

X. Science and Art among the early Huguenots 

XI. Catherine de Medici 

XII. The Conference at Poissy 

XIII. Terrible Position of the Huguenots 

XIV. Killing or being Killed . 
XV. Demoralization 

XVI. Charles IX. and Cohgny 

XVII. The Murder of Coligny 

XVIII. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew 

XIX. After St. Bartholomew 

XX. New Dangers 

XXI. The Edict of Nantes . 





From the Edict of Nantes to its Revocation. 

I. Prosperous but Declining . . . * . 

II. Facilis descensus Averni 

III. The Counter-Reformation in France 

IV. In their Misery the People Worship the Devil 





V. A Last Effort at Reconciliation . 
VI. Persecution Ivccomracuces .... 
VII. Goin^' down to E<i;ypt for Help 
VI 1 1. Jesuit Con}) (VKtat at Beam ... 

IX. The Huguenot Commonwealth at La iiochello 
X. Huguenot Learning and Methods of Education 
half of the Seventeenth Century) 
XI. Louis XIII, and Ilichelieu . 
XIL The Siege of La Rochelle 
Xlill. The End of Political Protestantism 
XIV. Passing under the ' Caudine Forks ' 
XV. The Huguenot Pulpit and Protestant Art 

the Seventeenth Century) . 
XVI. The Protestant Churches of France no long^ 

a National Character 
XVH. Further Inroads on Huguenot Liberty 
XVHI. The Huguenots and the King 
XIX. Public Opinion and the Huguenots 
XX. The Conversion and Jubilee of the Kin^ 

a New Series of Persecutions 
XXI. The Booted Mission . 
XXII. Some Huguenots Attempt to Appeal to the 

of France .... 

XXHI. The Second Dragonnades 
XXIV. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes 


middle ol 

er allowed 












Birth of William Fare! . . 1481) 
First Publication of the Bible 

in French 1498 

Birth of John Calvin . . 1500 
Lefevre announces the Doc- 
trine of Justification by 

Faith 1512 

Luther at the Diet of Worms 1521 
The Doctrines of the Refor- 
mation preached at Meaux 1521 
Francis Lambert, a Priest, 

married 1523 


and of Pavayes at Paris . 1 52 1 
Farel preaches the Reforma- 
tion in France and Switzer- 
land 1522-24 

Sack of Rome 1527 

Martyrdom of Louis de Bcr- 

guin 1529 

Peace of Cambray .... 1529 
Death of Zwingli .... 1531 
Immense Interest in Reform 

ill France 1533 

The Placard against the Mass 1534 
Great Persecution .... 1535 
Publication of the Insti- 
tution of the Christian 

Religion 1535 

Calvin at Geneva .... 1536 
Loyola founds the Jesuit 

Society 1540 

Council of Trent .... 1543 
Death of Martia Luther . . 15 16 
Accession of Henry II. . . 1517 
Martyrdom of Five Students 

at Lyons 1553 

Peace of Augsburg .... 1555 
Accession of Philip II., King 

of Spain 1555 

Elizabeth, Queen of England 1558 
Accession of Francis II. . . 1559 
Reformed Chui'ches organ- 
ized in Paris and in Nimes 1559 

Martyrdom of Anne Dubourg 1559 

First National Synod at Paris 1559 

Conspiracy of Amboise . . 1560 

Accession of Charles IX. . 1560 

States- General called . . . 15'i0 

National Synod at Poitiers . 1561 

Conference at Poissy . . . 1561 

Seizui-e of Churches at Nimes 1561 

Decree of Pacification, Jan. 12 1562 

Iconoclasm at Paris . . . 1562 

Massacre at Vassy . Mar. 1 1562 

National Synod at Orleans . 1562 
The Calvinist Lords take up 

Arms .... April 11 1562 
First War of Religion . 1562-63 
Persecutions, Martyrdoms, 

Massacres 1562-63 

Guise assassinated . Feb. 18 1562 

Treaty of Amboise . Mar. 19 1563 
National Synod at Lyons, 

presided over by Viret . . 1563 
Second Civil War . . 1564-1567 
Interview between Catherine 

de Medici and Alva . . . 1565 

Alva in the Netherlands . . 1567 

National Synod at Paris . . 1567 
The Michelade at Nimes 

Sept. 29 1567 
Battle of St. Denis . Nov. 10 1567 
Conquest of Religious Li- 
berty 1568-1570 

Third Civil War .... 1568 

Battle of Jarnac . March 13 1569 

Battle of Moncontour, Oct. 3 1569 
Coligny signs Peace at St. 

Germain-en -laye . Aug. 8 1570 
National Synod at La Ro- 
chelle, presided over by 

Beza 1571 

Coligny and Charles IX. . 1572 
Marriage of Henry of Navarre 
and Margaret of Valois 

Aug. 18 1572 

Murder of Coligny . Aug. 24 1572 


Massacre of St. Bartliolo- 

raew . . . Aug. 21-27 1572 
Massacres in tbc I'l-oviuccs 

Sept. 1572 
Death of Charles IX. IMay 30 1574 
Death of Cardiual of Lor- 
raine Dec. 1574 

The Leagvie or Holy Union 

foumled 1570 

Fourth Civil War and Peace 

of Bergerac 1577 

Assassination of William of 

Orange 1.jS4 

^lary Stuart beheaded . . 1587 
Henri de Guise assassinated 

Dec. 23 1587 
The Spanish Armada . . . 1588 
Calvinist Political Assembly 

at La Eochello .... 1588 
Death of Catherine de Me- 
dici Jan. 4 1589 

Henry III. assassinated 

Aug. 10 1589 
^rhe Battle of Ivry Mar. 14 1590 
Abjuration of Ilcury IV". 

July 25 1593 
Five Protestant Political 

Assemblies during . . 1595-97 
The Edict of Nant.^s April 1598 
Conference at Fontaincblcau 

on the Eucharist . . . IGOO 
National Synod at Gap . . 1603 
Death of (^)ueen Elizabeth . 1G03 
National Synod at La Ro- 

chello 1G07 

Assassination of Henry IV. IGIO 
Political Assembly of the 

Huguenots IGU 

National Synod of Privas . 1G13 

States-General 1G14 

Beginning of the Thirty 

Years' War ..... IGIS 
Jesuit Coup cVEiat in Boarn 1G20 
Political Assembly at La 

liochellc 1G20 

Invasion of ihe Palatinate . 1G20 
Landing of the Pilgrim 

Fathers in New England . 1G20 
Siege of Monlaubaii . , . 1G21 
Peace of Mont])cllier . . . 1G22 

Death of Duplossis-Mornay 1623 

National Synod of Cbarcnton 1G23 

Charles I. King of England 1625 

National Synod of Castres . 1626 
Siege of La llochelle . . 1627-28 

SackofPrivas 1627 

Fall of Montauban . . . 1629 
Gustavus AdolphiTs head of 

the Protestant League . 1630 
National Synod at Cbarcn- 
ton 1631 

National Synod at AlenQon . 1637 
Death of Janscn, Bishop of 

Ypres 1638 

National Synod at Charen- 

tou 1645 

Peace of Westphalia . . . 1648 

Commonwealth in England 1G49 
Time of Rest for French 

Calvinistic Churches . . 1652 
Last National Synod at 

Loudon 1659 

Death of Cardinal Mazarin . 1661 
Louis XIV. Rules as well as 

Reigns 1661 

Charles 11. sells Dunlvirk . 1663 
Louis takes Francho Comtc 

and some part of Flanders 1667 

Abjuration of Turenno . . 1669 
Bussuet's Expotiition of 

Catholic Docti'iue . . . 1671 

Colmar taken by Louis XIV. 1673 
So called Conversion of 

Louis XIV 1676 

Louis starts the Bank of 

Bribery 1677 

Peace of Nimwegen — Apogee 

of Louis XIV 1679 

First Dragonnades .... 1681 
Jurieu's Protestation of the 

Huguenots of the South . 1683 

Rising in the Vivarais . . 1683 

The turlvs at Vienna . . . 1683 
Forced Conversion of the 

Bearnois 1685 

Battle of Sedgemoor July 1G85 
The Second Dragonnades 

Autumn of 1685 
Revocation of the Edict of 

Nantes . . . Oct. 18 1685 






'I KNOW 110 words that can depict the wretched state of 
the French people at this time/ says one of our most 
eminent literary authorities^ writing of the period 
when the doctrines of the Keformation began to per- 
meate France. ' Incessant war had taken brave 
young men out of the fields, and left thousands of 
them dead on a foreign soil, or returned them to the 
country men of debauched life, bullies, cripples. The 
immense cost of these wars had been defrayed by 
excessive taxes, recklessly imagined, cruelly enforced. 
The lust and luxury of a debased court had grown 
fat for years upon the money of the poor. Almost 
every year saw the creation of new salaried officials, 
whom the people had to carry on their backs, and pay 
besides, for doing them the honour to be burdens. 
The morals of the people were perverted, they were 
impoverished, embittered, made litigious, and de- 


voured by lawyers before judges, of whom scarcely 
one in ten was unassailable by bribe. The Church was 
a machine for burning heretics and raising tithes. 
Against the debasing influence of a corrupt court, 
which extended among all ranks of the nobility, and 
through them was displayed before the ignorant 
among their fields, — against the vice bred in the 
camp, and dispersed along the march of armies, or 
brought home by thousands of disbanded soldiers, — 
the Church, as a whole, made not one effort to estab- 
lish Christian discipline. Pastors laboured only at 
the shearing of their flocks ; bishops received, in 
idle and luxurious abodes, their own large portion of 
the wool. Instead of dwelling in their bishoprics, 
and struggling for the cause of Christ, no less than 
forty of these bishops were at this time in Paris, 
holding their mouths open like dogs for bits of meat, 
and struggling for the cause of Guise or Mont- 
morenci ! ^ ^ 

And this state of things had gone on to a greater 
or less degree for ages, for it is a very romantic notion 
to suppose that in feudal times the people were any- 
thing but miserable. There were possibly periods and 
places in which their existence became bearable, but 
as far as this world is concerned it was that of sheep 
born to be shorn or slaughtered ; of bees who toiled 
ceaselessly to make honey, which their masters as 
regularly ate. And, owing to the feeble condition of 
the French monarchy, there was probably no country 
in Christendom in which the lot of the common 
people was worse than it was in France. What with 
seigniorial rights and ecclesiastical fees, they were so 
crushed that in a merely material sense serfdom was 
preferable to the miseries of such a parody of free- 

' Henry Morley's Pallssy the Potter, vol. i. p. 251. 


dom. Of seigniorial rights, Renaudin names no less 
than ninety-three. The shearing was so close that 
the peasant had to pay a tax for the use of the rain- 
water in the ditches and ruts on the roadside, for the 
dust his cattle made on the highway, and the honey 
his bees gathered from the lord's flowers. What the 
seigniors left the clergy took. There were dues for 
baptisms, communion, confession, penance, masses, 
betrothal, marriage, extreme unction, interment; there 
were blessings to be paid for on the fields, gardens, 
ponds, wells, fountains, houses newly built, grapes, 
beans, lambs, cheese, milk, honey, cattle, swords, 
poignards, and flags ; there were offerings to the mass, 
offerings to the first-fruits, offerings of the first-born 
of domestic animals, etc., etc. Had these innumer- 
able payments gone to support a body of true pastors, 
it would have been a bad system ; but as it was, a 
considerable part found its way to the pockets of 
inflaential laymen, and a still more considerable share 
into those of the aristocratic rulers of the Church, 
such as the Cardinal of Bourbon and the Cardinal of 
Lorraine, whose shameless pluralism exceeds all belief. 
While these wealthy shepherds spent their days in 
court intrigues, or amused themselves with parading 
as lights of the Renaissance, the actual pastors were 
sunk in ignorance. Jean de Montluc, Bishop of 
Valence, stated in his sermons (1559), that out of ten 
priests there were eight who did not know how to 

In addition to all this ecclesiastical fleecing, the 
royal taxes, ever increasing, became, under Francis 
I., owing to his Italian wars, captivity in Spain, and 
luxurious court, a burden truly frightful. 

The people, during the fifteenth century, were in 
such abject poverty that a famine produced results 
like those which now occur in India. In 1488, misery, 


pestilence, and despair carried off in Paris alone 80/JOO 
victims. In 1 119, there was no harvest; the labourers 
were dead or had fled ; little had been sown^ and that 
little had been ravaged. The crowds round the 
bakers* shops in Paris were incredible ; heaps of 
starving boys and girls lay on the dunghills, dying 
of cold and hunger. In 142 1, the famine was even 
worse; wolves scoured the depopulated country, 
scratching up the new-made graves, and even entered 
Paris. No doubt things rarely reached this pitch, 
nevertheless misery was chronic. The towns gradu- 
ally delivered themselves from many burdens, and 
ruling themselves, the citizens grew even wealthy. 
But in the open country the people were still domi- 
nated by the nobles, who from their unapproachable 
donjons could at any time swoop down on the villages 
and scour them out, setting fire to what they could 
not carry off, chasing before them the herds and the 
inhabitants, dishonouring the women, cruelly torturing 
the men and children^ and those who could not ransom 

These things, and worse than these, went on for 
ages in the presence of a Church universal and 
supreme, which said enough to let the people know 
that this was not the will of God, but, on the contrary, 
the exact opposite to Ilis will, and yet made itself 
responsible for the whole system by mixing itself up 
with it, and becoming its chief support. Could any 
plan have been more likely to produce discontent? 
And the welcome which the Reformers everywhere 
received is proof of the wide and deep discontent. 
The very word Reform was in itself an evangel, but 
it was rendered ten thousandfold more so than it 
otherwise would have been, since its doctrine did not 
merely promise a better order of society, more liberty, 
equality, fraternity. It promised to make of every 


individual who believed it a man, to lift him out of 
that servile, cowardly spirit which kept him a slave 
in heart as well as in body ; and this it did by making 
him feel that God knew and called him personally, 
asking him to enter into a personal alliance with Him, 
offering him pardon and justification through the oue 
atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy 
Spirit, and adoption into the redeemed family of God. 
He who had consciously entered into this alliance, who 
had felt the new, the Divine life within him, had no 
fear of standing before the proudest. He felt himself 
more than equal to any earthly prince, for he knew 
himself to be one of God^s chosen servants, predes- 
tined to eternal salvation before all worlds. 

An aged man lay in the Bastille. He had com- 
menced life as a poor artisan, ignorant and indigent. 
He had embraced the Gospel as taught by the Re- 
formers. A great artist, to whose talents the Valois 
owed much. Henri III. went to visit him. ^ My good 
man,' said his royal patron, ' for five and forty years 
you have worked for the queen-mother and myself. 
We have endured your living in your religion amoug 
fires and massacres, now I am so pressed by Guise^s 
people and my own, that in spite of myself I have 
been constrained to put you in prison, and unless you 
are converted, you will be burnt to-morrow.' 

^ Sire,' replied the old prisoner, ' you have several 
times said you have pity on me; but I have pity on 
you, for you have uttered the words, "I am con- 
strained." That is not to talk as a king ; I who have 
part in the kingdom of heaven will teach you more 
royal language ; and it is this, that the Guisards, all 
your people, and even yourself, will not know how to 
constrain a potter to bend his knees to statues, for I 
know how to die.' 




In 1521 tlie pope made a treaty with Charles Y., Em- 
peror-elect of Germany, and invited him to come and 
drive Francis I. out of Italy. The unfortunate inhabi- 
tants of the North-eastern provinces of France soon 
saw hovering on the frontier the terrible German 
lanzhieclde, and trembled for themselves and all dear 
to them. They knew there was no army to defend them, 
the king having drained the country of its soldiers. 
Fear of coming trouble made them think of God. 

It was under such circumstances that the doctrines 
of the Reformation were first preached in France, and 
in one city especially they took root and bore much 
fruit. The small episcopal town of Meaux was, as it 
were, the Bethlehem of the Keformation. 

Guillaume Briconnet, Bishop of Meaux, not only 
wished a general Beformation of the Church, but he 
did what he could to bring it about in his own diocese. 
Among the men who gathered round him, Jacques 
TjofC'vre stands out as the patriarch of French Pro- 
testantism. He was at this date nearly seventy years 
of nge, a doctor of theology in the University of Paris, 
with a great reputation for learning. Born in Picardy, 
in the middle of the fifteenth century, of very humbk^ 
parentage, Lefovre owed his distinguished position 
both to the light of genius and to the light of grace. 
When the doctrine of justification by faith was just 
dawning upon Luther, Lefcvre was already preaching 
it in France. 

Among his disciples was a youth from the Dauphine, 
named Guillaume Farcl, ardent in spirit and intensely 
religious, who, after seeking satisfaction in vain at the 
shrines of superstition, at last found it in the preaching 


of Lefevre. 'My dear Guillaume/ the old seer would 
say, ^ God will renovate the world, and you will see 
it/ Lefevre, like Moses, caught only a glimpse of the 
Promised Land ; Farel, as another Joshua, entered in, 
and living the life of a man of war, won many a battle 
and set up the flag of the Reformation both in France 
and Switzerland. ^If we look to dates,^ says 
D'Aubigne, ' we must admit that the glory of begin- 
ning the Reformation belongs neither to Switzerland 
nor to Germany, but to France/ 

Farel was supported by other missionaries : Pierre 
de Sebville, at Grenoble ; Amedee Maigret, at Lyon ; 
Michel d^Arande, at Magon; Etienne Machopolis and 
Etienne Renier, at Annonay ; Melchior Wolmar, at 
Orleans ; Jean de Catuce, at Toulouse. These are but 
names, but let us hold them sacred, for they represent 
men who were apostles of purity and light. 

And what was the condition of the people among 
whom they went to preach ? Slaves bound in fetters 
of gross superstition, their masters meanwhile careless 
of every yoke, moral or religious. Bishops might be 
seen pressing people to drink with them, rattling the 
dice-box, yelling after rooks and deer, entering houses 
of debauchery.^ A brothel was attached to the royal 
palace, but no one in the court could have exceeded 
the king himself in licentiousness. If any one will 
examine his portraits as preserved in the Louvre, they 
will see a rake's progress depicted more vividly than 
anything Hogarth has imagined. 

And these rulers in Church and State would listen 
to any scurrility ; their tolerance was truly wonderful. 
Rabelais not only satirised all classes of society, but 

^ Such were the charges, and worse, Lefevre openly made 
in his lectures, and they are mild to any one wbo knows the 


even tbe king himself, nay, he even passed his joke 
with the pope in person, no offence being given as 
long as a moralist turned the world into a pantomime, 
and feathered his shafts with plenty of obscene wit. 
But when the preacher seemed really serious, when he 
spoke the plain truth, in solemn language, when in all 
sincerity he called out for reformation, then these 
cultured, vicious sons of the Renaissance very soon 
cried, ' Away with him ; it is not fit that such a fellow 
should live ! ' 

Old Paris was divided into three parts, in each of 
which the dominating power centred respectively in 
the Chateau, the Cathedral, and the University. Thus 
the king^s power in Paris was practically shared with 
the bishop and the provost of the Sorbonne. The 
doctors of the latter institution, led by a theologian, 
Noel Beda, and supported by the chancellor, Antoine 
Duprat, together with the monks, led the persecution. 
When the scribes, lawyers, and Pharisees, the Sor- 
bonne, the Parliament, and the monastic institutions 
on the southern bank of the Seine, had well raised the 
cry of heresy, lighted the fires, and collected the mob, 
then Herod and Caiaphas were willing to appear and 
sanction the persecution with their presence and 

One of the first things done was to frighten the 
Bishop of Meaux into silence. In Paris, however, the 
Sorbonne had to deal with a man of infinitely more 
fortitude than the good Briconnet. Louis de Berquin 
is spoken of by Beza as one who might have been the 
Luther of France. By birth he belonged to the nobility, 
was very pious, and quite remarkable for purity of life. 
A learned and honest man, he could not put up with 
the ignorance and tenebrous ways of the Sorbonne, 
and spoke his mind freely to the king. A controversy 
caused him to look into the Bible. He was astonished 



to find not a word about praying to the Virgin Mary, 
and other fundamental doctrines of the Roman Church, 
but much that he had never heard taught. Con- 
viction with Berquin was soon translated into act, 
and the Sorbonne denounced him to the Parliament. 
Francis stepped in, and Berquin went on his way. A 
second time the Sorbonne cited him, and now before 
the bishop ; but the king removed the cause to his 
own tribunal, and only exhorted Berquin to prudence. 
A third time he was prosecuted by the same set of 
scribes and lawyers, and this time, Francis being at 
Madrid, and the queen-mother on their side, they 
reckoned on destroying their victim; but the king sent 
an order for his release. The Sorbonne was enraged, 
and Francis made them still more furious by order- 
ing them to censure certain propositions denounced 
by Berquin, or to establish them by texts from the 

Suddenly an image of the Virgin at one of the cross- 
ings in Paris was mutilated. There was a plot, they 
cried, an attack on religion, on the prince, on order. 
All law was going to be overturned, all titles to be 
abolished. Behold the fruits of the doctrines preached 
by Berquin ! The cry succeeded, a panic seized the 
parliament, the people, and even the king. Berquin 
was imprisoned for the fourth time, and condemned 
to be hanged and burnt on the Place de Greve. And 
thither, on the 21st of November, 1529, he was taken 
to execution, guarded by six hundred men — proof of the 
sympathy felt for him, or believed by his enemies to 
be felt for him. He descended from the tumbril with 
a firm step, and accepted death with such serenity 
that after the execution the grand penitentiary said 
aloud before the people that for a hundred years no 
one in France had died a better Christian. 

Such scenes, added to the preaching and dissemi- 



nation of the Scriptures and religious tracts, caused 
tlie desire for reform to spread far and wide. In the 
autumn of 1534, a violent placard against the mass 
was posted about Paris, and one was even fixed on 
the king^s own chamber. The cry was soon raised, 
' Death ! death to the heretics ! ' 

Francis had long dallied with the Reformation — it 
was to his interest as a king to support it — and his 
sister Margaret, its sincere friend, influenced him in 
its favour. His great opponent was Charles V., and 
the chief political fact of the times was their rivalry for 
the leadership of Europe. But Francis I. had not the 
moral courage to follow the example of his ally, the 
King of England, or he might have placed himself at 
the head of a Protestant League in Europe, and have 
become in a way a second Charlemagne. 

But when the moment for decision came, and on the 
21st of October, 1532, he met Henry VIII. at Boulogne 
to discuss the appeal of the German Protestants, he 
covered his irresolution by playing the gallant to 
Anne Boleyn. So now, two years later on, he develops 
into what was quite contrary to his disposition, a 
cruel persecutor. 

A certain bourgeois of Paris, unaffected by any 
heretical notions, kept in those days a diary of what 
was going on[in Paris, and from this precious document, 
long printed as one of the archives of the history of 
France, we learn that between the 13th of November, 
1534, and the loth of March, 1535, twenty so-called 
Lutherans were put to death in Paris. On the 10th 
of November seven persons were sentenced to be 
taken in a tumbril to be burnt, and on their road to 
make an apology before a church, holding a lighted 
taper in their hands. This was the usual process 
with heretics. 

13th Nov. Barthelmy Milon, the son of a shoe- 

A PARIS DIARY OF 1534. 19 

maker, and a paralytic, was burnt alive in tlie cemetery 
of St. Jean.^ 

14tli Nov. Jean dii Bourg, a ricli draper, wlio had 
put up one of the placards, had his hand cut off before 
the Fontaine des Innocents, and was then burnt alive 
at the Halles. A printer of the Rue St. Jacques was 
burnt alive the same day on the Place Maubert. 

18th Nov. A mason was burnt alive before the 
church St. Catherine du Saint-Anthony. 

] 9th Nov. A bookseller hanged and his body burnt 
on the Place Maubert. 

4th Dec. A young clerk burnt alive before the 

5th Dec. A young illuminator hanged, and his body 
burnt at the end of the Pont St. Michel. 

7tli Dec. A young hosier flogged naked at the 
cartas tail, and then banished. 

Christmas and its attendant feasts now intervening, 
the tragedies were suspended — a sort of interlude, 
which concluded on the 25bh of January with an 
imposing procession of cardinals, archbishops, and 
bishops, coped and mitred, carrying all the rehcs in 
Paris, followed by the king, bare-headed, a lighted 
torch in his hand, and accompanied by all the princes, 
knights, legal authorities, and representatives of the 
trades of Paris. Innumerable citizens, each holding 
a lighted taper, kept the way on both sides, all kneel- 

1 Micbelet tells a beautiful story of this poor boy. A spite- 
ful little gamin cle Paris, paralysed and malicious, he sat ab 
his father's door mocking the passers-by. A servant of God, 
thus reproached, turned back, spoke gently to the poor boy, 
and gave him a copy o£ the Gospels. Barthelmy read it, was 
converted, and became an exemplary youth, labouring for 
his living as a teacher of writing and armorial engravmg; 
but, being found possessed of a placard against the mass, 
■was burnt as above related. 


ing devoutly at the passage of the host. It was the 
aiiicnde lionorahlo to the mass, so outraged by that 
unfortunate placard. The roofs of the tall, gabled 
houses were covered with people, and every window 
crowded with heads to watch the gorgeous procession, 
its brilliant colours lit up by thousands of flaming- 
lights, make its way through the dark, narrow streets. 
After mass the king dined with the bishop, Jean de 
Bcllay, friend of Rabelais and even of Melanchthon, 
and the repast concluded, Francis, seated on a throne, 
protested, in presence of the assembled notables, that 
he would not pardon the crime of heresy even in one 
of his own children ; nay, if one of the members of his 
body was infected, he would cut it off with his own 

After this hypocritical parade six Lutherans were 
roasted alive, and, to give still more satisfaction to 
the savage vengeance of the persecutors, the martyrs 
were suspended to a movable gibbet, which rose and 
fell, so that they were alternately plunged into and 
then drawn out of the flames. This mode of execution 
was called the estrapade. 

The appetite for blood having been thus whetted, 
the numbers destroyed would have been considerable, 
had not most of the best-known heretics in Paris fled. 
On the 25th of January seventy-three Lutherans were 
suuimoned by sound of trumpet to appear, their goods 
were confiscated, and their bodies condemned to be 

Kith Feb. Etienne de la Forge, a wealthy merchant, 
much esteemed, was burnt alive at the cemetery of 
St. Jean. His wife was condemned two months later, 
and her goods confiscated. 

19th Feb. A goldsmith and a painter were flogged 
naked at the cartas tail, their goods confiscated, and 
themselves banished. 



26tli Feb. A youug mercer burnt alive at tlie end 
of the Pont St. Michel. His wife died of grief seven 
weeks after. On the same day a young scholar of 
Grenoble was burnt alive. 

loth March. A chanter of the chapel royal was 
burnt alive at the crossway of Grostournois^ near St. 
Germain FAuxerrois. 

A great number of these martyrs were^ it will be 
seen^ young people. Thus the prince of the Renais- 
sance tried to stifle the germs of a new world. 


CALviff AND Geneva. 

The panic caused by the Anabaptist outbreak at 
Munster may perhaps account for the extreme cruelty 
described in the last chapter, as the siege was in actual 
progress at the time. It was to defend the memories 
of the martyrs of the 29th of January, 1535, and of 
others who had suffered elsewhere, and to save, if 
possible, those menaced with a similar fate, that Calvin 
wrote his Institution of tlie Christian Religion. A 
timid, feeble-bodied young student, he had fled from 
France, in the hope of finding some retreat where he 
might lose himself in the studies he loved. Passing 
through Geneva with the intention of staying there 
only for a night, he met the indefatigable, ubiquitous, 
enterprising, courageous Farel, who, taking him by 
the hand, adjured him to stop and carry on the work 
in that city. Calvin shrank instinctively, but Farel 
proceeded to imprecate such a fearful curse on all he 
should do if he left them, that he was forced to yield. 
Four months, however, elapsed before he would be 
made a pastor,' and he said that he was right glad at 
heart when, after a year or two, he and Farel were 


exiled from Geneva, tliinking ifc a release from a career 
he wished to avoid. But he had to go back under 
pressure of a cordial invitation from the Geneva 
authorities, backed by Martin Bucer's threats of a 
heavy curse. 

If we look at the frontispiece portrait, taken from 
one in the print-room in the British Museum, and 
which carries with it the marks of authenticity, we 
behold a man who is evidently controlled by an over- 
powering sense of duty. Nevertheless, under that 
sadly painful expression, we see a character peculiarly 
iltted for the work to which Calvin was called. In 
that large, full forehead, what intelligence ! in that long, 
thin nose what penetration ! in those dreamy, thought- 
ful eyes what concentred life ! in that severe mouth 
what inflexibility ! in that extraordinary beard — a tuft 
with two tails, springing out in advance of the great 
beak of a nose — what intense individuality ! In some 
of his portraits the pose of his head renders this 
strange beard still more peculiar. It is thrown for- 
ward in a way absolutely defiant, while the eyes look 
upward. A born king — might we not rather say a 
born tyrant, using that word in its noblest, best 
sense ? 

Calvin, once settled at Geneva, had no more doubt 
about his calling than if he had been Moses himself. 
No doubt he lacked the humanity, the glowing imagina- 
tion, the prophetic insight of the Hebrew seer; but he 
had a similar genius for legislation, a similar power of 
organization, the same ability to compel men to accept 
his rule of life. 

Cities have a calling even as individuals. Geneva 
filled as important a part in the Heformation as Calvin. 
Its geographical position marked it as a city of the 
nations. Upon it converged the roads which con- 
nected Central Germany with Southern France. An 


episcopal city during the Middle Ages^ it had just 
asserted its liberty against the usurpation of the Duke 
of Savoy and the treachery of its own bishop. While 
its traditions were thus theocratic, it was ready to be 
the scene of new essays in social organization. 

Calvin came, saw, and conquered, for his foes, though 
numerous, were by no means his match. Out of this 
free, laughing, gay Geneva, he sought to make a civitas 
Dei, a city set upon a hill, the example, the centre, 
the rock of the new and Divine life now surgfing* in the 
chaos into which Europe had fallen. Calvin^s unerring 
logic, his pure and living style, dominated the greater 
part of men of culture, learning, or power of thought 
attached to the Reformation. Minds as original as 
his own, but of an entirely different mould, naturally 
abhorred his mode of thinking and acting. But their 
influence was as nothing compared to his. The law 
went forth from Geneva, forming not only an eccle- 
siastical society in Switzerland, but a far greater one 
in France, as well as that of Scotland, and in the end 
vastly affecting that of England. 

Calvin's mind was essentially a legal one. He was, 
first and before all things, a legislator. He was able 
to accept certain points as not to be discussed, but 
these premisses admitted, he argued from step to step, 
fearless of the consequences. He accepted the general 
position of all the Reformers, who, regarding the Bible 
as the palladium against the encroachments of papal 
authority, gave it the position formerly occupied in 
their minds by the Church. The Bible, the sole rule 
to follow, without mixing with it anything else, or 
adding to it or taking from it — this was the starting- 
point from which he deduced everything he taught. 

In this way Calvin found the germs of his new 
ecclesiastical polity. The Church must be reformed 
according to the New Testament. Many references 


were there made to the customs of the primitive 
Church. He found mention made of four offices : 
pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons. The pastors he 
formed into a college which controlled all the spiritual 
affairs of the Chnrcli, selecting and appointing the 
candidates for the ministry^ and nominating them to 
various charges with the sanction of the people. To 
this first ecclesiastical court he added a second for 
discipline. This was formed chiefly of elders and 
deacons, but the clerical element being permanent, 
while the lay fluctuated, the ministers easily preserved 
the leading influence ; and it was of this court Calvin 
himself gradually assumed the presidency, and by means 
of which he carried on his work. He enunciated 
with great force the doctrine so closely connected with 
his name : the doctrine of election and of reprobation, 
of the existence of a line of chosen saints and a line 
of lost sinners. But in the ecclesiastical society ho 
founded he attempted no such division ; every 
Genevese was a member, and so amenable to the 
Church courts. Thus the functions of the consistoi-ial 
court of discipline easily covered everything connected 
with the life of the people. The minutest point in 
dress, the greatest affairs in the State, could be brought 
within its jurisdiction. It may, as an instrument of 
despotism, be placed in the same category as the Star 
Chamber and the Inquisition. But how different the 
results ! Geneva, during the last three centuries, has 
produced more men of eminence in science and 
literature than any other town of equal size, some of 
its families having become almost scientific dynasties. 
Education, luminous and progressive, has ever been 
characteristic of the city of Calvin. Whence the 
difference ? It all lies in the motive. Calvin's institu- 
tions had no other object than to secure to man the 
advance in light and liberty made by the Keformation ; 


tlie Star Chamber and the Inquisitiou were instituted 
to crush every aspiration in that direction. 

From Geneva went forth the influence which 
sustained the cause of the Eeformation in its deadly 
strife of three centuries. The pastors of the Desert, 
the Camisards, the suSerers from the revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes, looked to it as the Puritans of 
England, the Covenanters of Scotland, and the Protes- 
tants of the Netherlands had done, as a sacred city 
where dwelt the ark of God and the shechinah ; 
Geneva was even more the Protestant Jerusalem than 
the Protestant Rome. 


Light and Joy Flood France. 

Geneva under Calvin — words fail to describe its 
value to the cause of the Reformation. Thirty presses 
worked day and night to print a multitude of books 
which ardent colporteurs carried over France, chief 
among* them being" a small edition of the Bible ^ and a 
book of French psalms set to music. ^ Many of these 
indefatigable missionaries gave their lives in the cause. 
Pierre Chabot, discovered by a spy of the Sorbonne in 
1546, suffered martyrdom in the Place Maubert. He 
argued modestly with his judges, he harangued the 
people from the executioner^s cart ; he would not cease 
until they tightened the cord and finally stopped his 

1 The firsb translation of the Scriptures was made in 149-i 
and published in 1498. Others followed. 

- In the British Museum, under the head 'Liturgies, French 
Eeformed Church,' may be found one of these books published 
in 1566, a pocket edition, about the length of a thumb, beauti- 
fully printed, and containing not only the Psalms with the 
music to each, but the form of prayers and the catechism, bap- 
tismal and other services. 


voice. tliis terrible Word ! if it were thus allowed 
to turn tlio scaffold into a pulpifc, all would be lost; 
henceforth, in every case, convicted heretics were to 
have their tongues cut out. 

Nevertheless, and perhaps in consequence of such 
barbarities, the Reformers rapidly increased, so that it 
is reckoned that by the middle of the sixteenth century 
one-sixth of the population of France had embraced 
their doctrine. How the seed germinated may be 
gathered from a work left us by Bernard Palissy, called 
L'histoire des troubles de Xaintonge. The first stir- 
rings of the public conscience in the province of 
Saintonge were caused by some monks who had either 
been in Germany or had in some way had their eyes 
opened to the great scandal of the time — the concen- 
tration of ecclesiastical property in the hands of a few, 
and those frequently not clergymen at all. When the 
priests and holders of benefices understood that these 
bold monks wished to interfere with their property, 
they incited the magistrates to come down upon them, 
which the magistrates did with exceeding good-will, 
beinof themselves in several cases holders of some 
morsel of benefice. The monks, having no desire to 
die at the stake, hid themselves in the isles of Oleron, 
Marepues, and Allevert, where they became school- 
masters or learnt some trade. At first, and with many 
precautions, they spoke only in secret to the people ; 
but finding how many were with them, by the tacit 
permission of a grand-vicar, they began to preach, and 
so little by little the people in Saintonge had their 
eyes opened, and became alive to abuses which they 
would otherwise have ignored. 

As the bishop, an august personage twenty-three 
years of age, a cardinal and a prince of ^ the precious 
blood of Monseigneur St. Louis,' resided at court, 
these things might have gone on without hindrance 


had not the fiscal attorney^ a man of perverse and evil 
life, sent word to Monseigneur de Bourbon that the 
place was full of Lutherans. He received orders to 
extirpate them, together with a good sum of money, 
'riie preachers were arrested and clothed in green, 
that the people might consider them fools. To this 
the fiscal attorney added a further piece of malicious 
cruelt}^, for he bridled them like horses, filling their 
mouths with an apple of iron, and so led them to be 
burnt alive at Bordeaux. This was in 1546. 

Some time after this, in 1557, an old priest named 
Philibert, who had been shut up, probably at this time 
for his religious opinions, but who had obtained his 
release- by dissembling his convictions, returned to 
Saintes after a long stay at Geneva, determined to 
repair his fault. He preached the new doctrines, and 
advised the Reformed to send for ministers and com- 
mence some form of a church ; meanwhile he and his 
assistants sold Bibles and other books printed at 

Philibert went about with apostolic simplicity. 
Though weak and ill, he was often begged to use a 
horse, but he would never do so, contenting himself 
with the help of a staff; neither did he carry a sword, 
but went about without fear, though quite alone. 

Having one day prayed with some seven or eight 
persons, he left for the isles, where he gathered the 
people by sound of the bell, preached to them and 
baptized a child, which last act so alarmed the magis- 
trates, to whom the spiritual effects of a Divine message 
appeared nothing in comparison with the magic of a 
rite, that they set off in pursuit of this humble mission- 
ary with quite a caravan of horses, men-at-arms, cooks, 
and sutlers. Having with great ceremony rebaptized 
the child and arrested Philibert, they sent him for 
trial to Bordeaux, because they feared their own 


townsmeu, wlio lield liim in reverence as a lioly man. 
He died on tlic gallows, the 18tli of April, 1557. 

The writer to whom we owe this history was a 
devoted disciple of the martyr, and after his death set 
himself in his own simple way to carry on his work. 
^ There was/ he says, ^ in Xaintes, an artisan poor and 
indigent beyond description, who had so great a desire 
for the progress of the Gospel that he explained it 
one day to another artisan, poor and unlearned as 
himself, for both of them knew but little. However, 
the first said to the other that if he were willing to 
employ himself in exhorting it would be the cause of 
great good.'' Although, he to whom he spoke was 
without knowledge, it gave him courage, and he 
assembled one Sunday morning some nine or ten 
persons, and read to them certain passages of the Old 
and New Testament which he had written out. He 
explained what he read, saying that each according to 
the gifts that he had received from God ought to 
distribute to others. He read them the words in 
Deuteronomy xi. 19, urging them to preach on all occa- 
sions, in travelling, in taking their meals, in rising 
up or lying down, in sitting by the wayside, never, 
in fact, to lose an opportunity. They then agreed to 
take it in turns to exhort six weeks at a time. 

Such is the artless story of the foundation of the first 
Reformed Church in Saintes, and thus doubtless sprang 
up spontaneously in vai-ious parts of France many 
others, the direct action of the Spirit of God upon the 
heart of the people. 

And elsewhere, as in Saintonge, it was some con- 
verted priest or monk who first preached to the people 
the doctrines of the Reformation. But what stirred 
up inquiry everywhere was the dissemination of the 
writings of Luther, and tlie tracts published by the 
Swiss Reformers, which were disseminated far and wide. 



The former were brouglifc to the fairs at Lyons and 
carried down the Ehone^ were scattered all over the 
South of France, while the latter came packed in tuns 
as merchandise, and were carried everywhere by the 
colporteurs. However the work began, the people 
took it up; and, as in primitive times, it was the 
poor in this world, rich in faith, who became its 
preachers. Such was Pierre de la Vau, a native of 
Pontillac, near Toulouse, who was seized in the act of 
preaching, standing on a boundary stone in the Place de 
la Couronne at Nimes, and condemned to death, the 8th 
of October, 1554. ^He was,' says Crespin, 'a shoe- 
maker by trade ; but, for all that, fervent in the Word 
of God and well instructed in it.' And, as if to unite 
this class and the last, we are told that the Dominican 
prior who attended him at his execution, partaking 
the religious convictions of the victim, spoke to him 
only of Jesus, and the necessity of believing in Him to 
have eternal life. His words were heard and reported, 
whereupon a writ of arrest was issued against him, but 
he escaped to Geneva. The spirit of Savonarola thus 
dwelt in some of his brethren. 

In the environs of Dieppe, in the weavers' villages, 
and in those of the cloth-merchants in the district of 
Caux, it was a Deborah or a Naomi who, venerated on 
account of her sorrows and experience, commenced 
the movement by reading and explaining the Bible to 
a few persons. The new doctrines won their way, 
house by house, family by family, without any teach- 
ing but that of the very poor, who thus themselves 
came back again to the simple doctrines and practices 
of the New Testament. 

The particular results of the influence of this little 
Church at Saintes indicate what was going on all over 
the country. In a few years, gambling, dancing, 
ballad-singing, revelling, fashionable dressing had 


nearly all disappeared. No more mnrders_, hardly any 
abusive words. Law-suits had diminished. As Easter- 
time approached^ people made up their quarrels. The 
townsfolk no longer went to gamble and drink at the 
inns, but spent their time with their families. Even 
children seemed to be strangely thoughtful. 

Nothing, in fact, so occupied the minds of the people 
as religious worship. ' You see/ said the Catholics to 
the priests and monks, ' how the ministers make prayers, 
and lead a holy life. Why do you not do the same?^ 
Then the priests and monks began to make prayers 
and preach like the ministers. ' Thus in these days/ 
says Palissy, ^ there were prayers from one end of the 
city to the other. The same edifice was used for both 
forms of worship ; the Catholics who came to hear mass 
met the Reformed returning from the exhortation.' 

This great spiritual movement filled the hearts of 
the people with such joy that they burst out into 
song. You might have seen, on Sundays, companions 
of the same craft walking about the fields and woods, 
singing psalms, hjmms, and spiritual songs ; while the 
young women, seated in the gardens, delighted them- 
selves in siugiug together all kinds of holy pieces. 
For this burst of holy joy, Marot and Beza para- 
phrased the psalms, and Goudimel set them to new 
music, boldly turning them into chants, part-songs, 

But the companions of a craft did not wait for the 
composers any more than they did for the ministers. 
It was enough in those days to meet to sing. They 
felt as the children of Israel after they had escaped 
from the hands of Pharaoh. They sang in the spirit 
of Zacharias, when the Holy Ghost opened his mouth 
and he prophesied. These poor artisans and rustic 
maidens prophesied, and we to-day witness the fulfil- 


But what long years of sorrow and affliction followed 
this spring-time of joy ! yet through it all they never 
forgot the sweet savour of that early psalmody. 
' Music/ said Luther^ ^ is the best consolation of the 
afflicted. It refreshes the heart and restores its peace.' 
So it was with the early martyrs, who constantly went 
to the stake singing. Yes, such was the joy of heart 
in those days_, that a chronicler describes the young 
virgins as going more gaily to execution than they 
would have done to their nuptials. Such was the 
enthusiastic strength the new life gave them, that we 
read of a peasant who met some prisoners on the way 
to execution, and asked the reason of their sentence. 
He was told they were heretics ; and he at once claimed 
a place by their side, got into the cart, and went to die 
with his brethren. 


The Five Scholars of Lausanne. 

To overflow with joy in affliction, to make the prison, 
and the scaffold jubilant with sougs of praise — what 
better proof can we have that the kingdom of God had 
come nigh, that at this moment France was entering 
into a new life ? The martyrs of the primitive Church 
could not have triumphed over death with more exult- 
ing faith than some of these early confessors for the 
cause of Reform in France. Nothing is more beautiful 
in martyrology than the story of the five scholars of 
Lausanne, burnt at Lyons on the 16th of May, 1553. 

Martial Alba, Pierre Naviheres, Bernard Seguin, 
Charles Favre, Pierre Escrivain, — these were the names 
of the young brothers so blessed and honoured in 
their exodus from this world of sin and suffering. 



They had returned, towards the end of April, 1552, 
into France, in order to begin their work as ministers 
of the GospeL Betrayed and denounced ahiiost as 
soon as they entered France, they were arrested at 
Lyons and thrown into prison. Here they lay for 
more than a year, notwithstandiDg the untiring efforts 
of sympathetic friends. In these dungeons — and what 
dungeons only those who have descended into such 
places as the oubliettes still to be seen under the pon- 
tifical palace at Avignon can form any idea — in these 
dungeons joy lit up their hearts, to think that the 
world counted them accursed, while God had chosen 
them to maintain the cause of Jesus Christ. 

But nothing we can say will equal the touching 
story of their last hours as told by the chronicler. 

' These then are the arms with which these holy 
persons were provided to maintain their last combat, 
which took place the sixteenth of the month of May 
(1553), a whole year having rolled away since they 
were imprisoned. The sixteenth, say I, brought them 
deliverance, and was the blessed day for which the 
crown of immortality was prepared for them by the 
Lord after so virtuous a fight. About nine o^clock in 
the morning of the said day, after having received 
sentence of death in the court of Rouane — the which, 
in short, was to be led to the place of the Terreaux, 
and there burned alive until their whole bodies were 
consumed, — all five were put in the place where crimi- 
nals waited, after having received sentence, until the 
appointed time, between one and two o'clock in the 
afternoon. These five martyrs betook themselves 
first to praying to God with great ardour and vehe- 
mence of spirit, marvellous to those who beheld them ; 
some prostrating themselves on the ground, others 
looking upward ; and then they commenced to rejoice 
in the Lord and to sing psalms. And as two o'clock 


drew nigb, tliey were led out of the said place clothed 
in their grey dresses and tied with corcls^ exhorting 
one another to maintain constancy, since the end of 
their course was at the stake close at hand_, and that 
the victory there was quite certain. 

''Being then placed on a cart, they commenced to 
sing the 9th Psalm : ^^ I will give thanks unto the Lord 
with my whole heart," etc. However, they had not 
time to finish it, so much were they taken up with 
invoking God, and uttering several passages of Scrip- 
ture as they passed along. Among others, as they 
passed by the Place of the Herberie, at the end of the 
bridge of the Saone, one of them, turning to the vast 
crowd, said in a loud voice, " The God of peace, who 
brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of 
the sheep, our Lord, according to Christ by the blood 
of the eternal covenant, confirm you in every good 
work to do His will." ^ Then commencing the 
Apostles' Creed, dividing it by articles, one after the 
other, they repeated it with a holy harmony, in order 
to show that they had together one accordant faith in 
all and through all. He whose turn it was to pro- 
nounce the words, ^'^ Who was conceived of the Holy 
Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary," raised his voice, in 
order that the people might know that it was a false 
calumny which their enemies had spread that they 
had denied this article, and spoken ill of the Virgin 
Mary. To the sergeants and satellites who often 
troubled them, menacing them if they did not hold 
their peace, they twice answered, '"' Do not prevent 
us in the short time we have to live from praising and 
invoking our God." 

'^Being come to the place of execution, they mounted 
with joyful heart on to the heap of wood which was 

^ Literal translation of the chronicle. 


round about the stake. The two youngest among 
them mounted firsts one after the other^ and the exe- 
cutioner having stripped them of their clothes, bound 
them to the stake. The last who ascended was Martial 
Alba, the oldest of the five, who had been a long time 
on his knees upon the wood prayiug to the Lord. The 
executioner, having bound the others, came to take 
him, and having raised him by the armpits, wished to 
put him down with the others; but he earnestly asked 
the Lieutenant Tignac to grant him a favour. The 
lieutenant said to him, " What wilt thou ? ^^ He 
said to him, " That I might kiss my brothers before 
dying." The lieutenant granted him his request, and 
then the said Martial, being led up to the wood, kissed 
and was kissed in turn by all the four standing there 
tied and bound, saying to each of them, "Adieu, 
adieu, my brother ! " Then the other four there 
bound kissed each other, turning round their heads 
and saying one to the other the same words, " Adieu, 
my brother ! " 

' This done, after the said Martial had recommended 
his said brothers to God before coming down and 
being bound, he also kissed the executioner, saying 
to him these words, " My friend, do not forget what 
I have said to thee.'^ Then, after being tied and 
bound to the same stake, all were inclosed with a 
chain which went round about the stake. An attempt 
was then made to hasten their death by strangling 
them, but it failed, upon which the bystanders heard 
the five martyrs continually exhorting one another 
with the words, " Courage, my brothers, courage ! '^ 
which were the last words heard in the midst of the 
fire, which soon consumed the bodies of the aforesaid 
valiant champions and true martyrs of the Lord.' 



The Martyrs and the Psalter. 

In no Church lias the Psalter ever occupied such a 
place as it did for three centuries in that of the 
Huguenots. In the degree we catch the spirit of the 
Psalms, in that degree we enter into the soul of the 
Huguenot life and faith. The first Huguenots died with 
some words from the Psalter on their lips, nearly 
always singing them, as was their wont in worship. 

Jean Leclerc, executed at Metz, 1524, in the midst 
of frightful tortures, continued to chant these verses of 
Psalm cxv : ^ Their idols are silver and gold, the work 
of men's hands.' Wolfgang Schurch, burnt at Nancy, 
1525, died singing Psalm li. Aymon de la Voye, in 
quitting his prison to go to the stake, intoned the 
hundred and fourteenth psalm: *When Israel went 
out of Egypt. ■* Fifty-seven Protestants of Metz were 
put in prison, from whence fourteen were led to execu- 
tion ; their brethren sang as they passed Psalm Ixxix. 
As they were about to have their tongues cut out, the 
cry arose •?■ 

' Let the sighing of the prisoner come before Thee ; 
According to the greatness of Thy power preserve Thou those 

that are appointed to death ; 
And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom 
Their reproach, wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord.' 

Nicholas, martyred at Hainaut in 1548, answered the 
Cordeliers, who overwhelmed him with reproaches on 
the scaffold, in the words of the sixth psalm : 

' Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity ; 
For the Lord liath heard the voice of my weeping. 
The Lord hath heard the voice of my supplication; 
The Lord will receive my prayer.' 

^ Gagging was first tried, but the strings burnt in the flames-, 
and the martyrs burst into song. 


Mace Moureau^ burnt at Troyes, 1550^ chanted a 
psalm in the flames. Many more similar illustrations 
might be given, but for a complete account the reader 
is referred to Douen^s great work, Clement Marot ct h 
Pscviitier Ilvcjuenot. Five 3'OUDg persons condemned 
to death at Lyons, for preaching Reform, sang as they 
went to the scaffold the ninth Psalm; a tremendous 
appeal to the just and righteous God, who forgetteth 
not the cry of the poor, but maketh inquisition for 
blood, an appeal full of triumphant faith, an appeal 
which has been most assuredly answered. 


New Shepherds and a New Fold. 

In 1551 appeared the Edict of Chateaubriant, by 
which, persons accused of heresy were rendered amen- 
able both to the secular and ecclesiastical courts, so 
that, absolved at one tribunal, they could be immedi- 
ately cited before the other. Intercession was for- 
bidden, sentences were executed notwithstanding 
appeal, suspected persons had to produce certificates 
of orthodoxy. But light is thrown on the motives of 
the powerful personages of the day by the provisions 
according to which informers were to receive a third 
part of the property of the condemned, while the 
entire estates of those who fled the country were to 
be confiscated to the Crown. Very soon this courtier 
or that favourite was denouncing the man whose 
property ho or she desired to have. Sometimes they 
ruined a whole family, or got possession of an entire 
canton. Thus were enlarged, as was again the case 
at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the domains 
of families then in process of being made ^ noble and 


But tliis edict was not enough for some of the 
cormorants. The Cardinal of LoiTaine_, a man whose 
orthodoxy could stretch to any pointy was willing to 
join Paul IV. and the Sorbonnists^ and to introduce 
the Inquisition into France. Happily, the French 
lawyers retained their old traditional dislike to clerical 
despotism, and the attempt failed. 

However, the Protestants had the possibility of the 
Inquisition hanging over them, as well as of the machi- 
nations of the Jesuits, who by some change in public 
opinion might be permitted to enter France. Organi- 
zation in the presence of such danger was clearly 
necessary, and thus they were almost compelled to 
turn their free communion into a well-drilled org-ani- 

The movement commenced in Paris in 1555. M. de 
la Ferriere having received some Protestants into his 
house, proposed to them to choose a pastor. After 
many objections they elected not only a pastor, but 
elders and deacons. Their example was followed 
elsewhere, each city, town, or commune constituting 
a Church in itself. The work progressed so rapidly 
that by 15G1 there were 2,150 Churches thus organized 
in France. To unite the Churches into one general 
body, a national synod was convoked in 1559. Eleven 
Churches were represented, and their delegates met in 
Paris from the 26th to the 29th of May. 

They adopted a Confession of Faith prepared by 
Calvin and his disciple, De Ohandiou, comj^osed of 
forty articles. All the dogmas generally regarded as 
fundamental to the evangelical creed are stated in this 
confession with luminous precision. Certain doctrines 
seem more than usually accentuated. Such, for ex- 
ample, as the entire corruption and condemnation of 
human nature, with the decree of sovereign election. 
But these doctrines, which have come to be so pecu- 


liarly associated witli Calvin^ occupy a place quite 
secondary to that of the supremacy of the Bible as the 
all-sufficient rule of f\iith. Articles II., III., IV., and 
V. are devoted to the exposition of this doctrine. It 
follows the declaration of the existence and character 
of God ; the second article affirming that He reveals 
Himself in His works, but still more clearly in His 
Word contained in the Holy Scriptures ; the third 
states the limits of these Scriptures ; the fourth that 
they are known to be the Word of God, not so much 
by the common accord and consent of the Church, as 
by the testimony and inward illumination of the Holy 
Spirit; the fifth asserts that the word contained in 
the Scriptures, proceeds from God, and receives its 
authority from Him alone ; that it is the rule of all 
truth, contaiuing all that is necessary ; that it is not 
lawful even for angels to add to it ; nothing, however 
sacred, can be put in contradiction to it. 

This elevation of the Bible to a position exactly 
opposed to that in which Catholicism placed the 
Church, is most noteworthy. The same opposition 
of ideas is observable in other points. As the ordinary 
means of grace, preaching the Word almost occupies 
in Calvinism the place of the sacraments in the Roman 
Catholic Church, and the all-important term, the 
Catholic Faith, is superseded by that of the Reformed 
Religion, or The Religion, as a Huguenot loved to say. 

Many traces may be found in this confession of 
antagonism to the Anabaptist views ; in fact, their 
supposed errors are referred to with more severity 
than those of the Papists. This is not surprising, con- 
sidering that the chief feature presenting itself at the 
moment was the anarchical tendency of their views. 
It had, however, a deplorable effect, since it tended 
to lessen with French Calvinists the influence of the 
highest standard of Christianity, the Sermon on the 


Mount. Its immediate effect was to accentuate in the 
Calvinistic polity the authority of the ruler, so that it 
would be difficult to place it higher. ' God/ the thirty- 
ninth article says, ^ wishes to be considered the Author 
of every form of human government, and has put a 
sword into the hand o£ the magistrate to repress, not 
only sins against the second table of the command- 
ments of God, hut also against the first.^ ' Conse- 
quently,' the fortieth says, ' all their laws and statutes 
must be obeyed, the yoke of subjection endured with 
goodwill, even if they are unbelievers, provided the 
supreme empire of God remains intact.' The con- 
fession concludes : ^ Thus we detest those who wish to 
cast off their superiors, to introduce community and 
confusion of goods, and overturn legal order.' 

Various articles set forth the discipline to be ob- 
served. Wherever a sufficient number of believers 
existed a Church ought to be formed, a consistory 
elected, a minister called, the sacraments regularly 
celebrated, and discipline established. The consistory, 
once elected, filled up its own vacancies ; the pastor, 
elected for the first time, was on subsequent occasions 
to be named by the provincial synod or the conference. 
The consent of the people, however, was always to be 
regarded as necessary. While they were not to be 
asked to vote, nothing was to be done contrary to their 

When difficulties arose the matter was to be referred 
to the provincial synod or the conference. A conference 
was formed by the union of the Churches of a district, 
and it was to meet at least twice a year. Each Church 
was represented by its pastor. Above the conference 
was the provincial synod, composed of an equal num- 
ber of ministers and laymen. They were to meet at 
least once a year, and all that was beyond the power 
of a conference was to be referred to them. Highest 


of all came tlie national synod_, which was to form a 
final court of appeal, and was to take cognisance of all 
affairs of national importance. It was composed of 
two pastors and two elders, delegated by each of the 
provincial synods, and its president was always to be 
a pastor. It was to be annually convoked^ and its 
deliberations were to commence by the reading of the 
Confession of Faith and the Order of Discipline. 

The constitution which Calvin thus gave the Re- 
formed Church of France reveals throughout his 
luminous, logical, legislative genius. In the con- 
fession the man himself is peculiarly seen in all his 
convictions and. in all his antipathies. He does not 
even forget to pillory Servetus by name. But whether 
we sympathise with its statements or not, we cannot 
deny its grandeur, still less its immense influence and 
historic importance. Nothings I imagine, except the 
Psalter, had greater influence in forming the Huguenot 

This constitution, as regarded, the Church, was 
founded, on the equality of all believers, pastors, or 
layinen_, high or low. Liberty and. authority were 
both maintained, and if the latter predominated, over 
the former it was a necessity of the times. On the 
principle that the religious institutions of a nation 
mould its civil ones, we have here the first step in the 
education of France in republican forms of govern- 


The Calvin istic Constitution at Work. 

But as the letter of a new constitution cannot afford 
an idea of its practical working, especially at first, and 


among a people formed under a totally different system, 
a brief account of what happened in the early days of 
one of the local Churches thus formed will be helpful. 

Nimes is a city which from the earliest times until 
the present day has been one of the chief centres of 
the Protestant faith in France. The foundations of 
the Church had been laid by such preachers as the 
shoemaker De la Vau, and the Dominican prior 
Deyron, but it only appears to have been organized on 
the arrival of a pastor from Geneva, Guillaume Man get, 
September, 1559. His first preachings took place iw. 
secret at night, as houses used as conventicles were 
liable to be rased and demolished ; but after a time 
they grew bolder, and in 1560 they openly held 
meetings in a private house, assembling there every 
day, and on the 13th of April in that year the Church 
for the first time united in celebrating the Lord^s 
Supper. On the 20fcli of May following, they had 
grown so strong that they took possession of the 
Church of Saint Etienne-de-Capduel, contiguous to the 
Maison-Carree. When the Comte de Joyeuse, who 
commanded in Langucdoc, was about to proceed 
against those concerned in the seizure, he found a 
majority of the chief people in the law-court of Nimes 
were sympathetic, so he merely contented himself with 
telling the magistrates and consuls to prevent such 
enterprises in future. However, there was naturally 
great excitement, and the Comte de Yillais entered 
the city with a number of soldiers to maintain order, 
whereupon the chief Protestants fled. 

Following, however, the fluctuation of the general 
ebb and flow of the Protestant cause all over France, 
they soon returned, and on the 23rd of March, 1561, 
the pastor Mauget formed a consistory, composed at 
first of the pastor, ten elders or superintendents, and 
three deacons. By 1567 there Avero four pastors, nine 


elders, and five deacons, besides several oflScers specially 
appointed to certain duties; the treasurers of the 
moneys for the ministers and for the poor, the receiver 
of legacies, the clerk of the consistory, the monitor, 
who went about giving notices of meetings, etc., and 
the precentor. 

The consistory commenced by establishing religious 
meetings in private houses in each quarter of the city. 
There were nine such divisions in 1567, each under 
the superintendence of an elder, whose duty it was to 
conduct a service of prayer, reading the Scriptures, 
and catechising those who were proposing to take 
part in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. On 
Sunday these local associations met in some spacious 
building to hear sermons from the pastors — a church 
when they could get it; in the temple which in 1567 
they were permitted to build. 

The consistory divided its work into five parts : 
assistance to the poor, receiving abjurations, passing 
censures, receiving back to the peace of tlie Church, 
and divers matters. A word on each will throw light 
on the degree of organization attained at this early 
period : 

1. Assistance to the poor consisted of gifts in money, 
in bread, in clothing, in remedies for the sick, in 
marriage portions to girls without fortune, in premiums 
for the apprenticeship of poor children, in liberalities 
towards prisoners, captives, foreigners, and converts, 
who were no doubt ofcen deprived of any means of 
living. The money for these works was obtained from 
the voluntary offerings placed every Sunday in the 
basins held by deacons at the doors of the temple, 
from collections made from house to house, from 
letting the seats, and from boxes placed in the trades- 
men's shops, into which customers dropped, as the 
riglii of the poor, a sum proportioned to the price of 


their purcliases, finally from legacies made to the 

2. Abjurations^ at this time numerous and daily, 
consisted in a declaration that the proselyte renounced 
' the mass and all Papal idolatry/ and wished to 
make a public profession of the Evangelic Religion. 
The section of the consistory appointed to this work 
then inquired into the degree of their belief and morality 
of their conduct, and if satisfied, the proselyte was 
solemnly received into the Church on Sunday after 
Divine service. 

0. Censures. The consistory constituted itself a 
court of morals. Its monitor was instructed to 
summon before it all who had contracted mixed 
marriages, or had sent their children to Catholic 
schools ; all guilty of scandalous conduct — fornication, 
adultery, swearing, Sabbath-breaking, quarrelling, 
duelling, taking part in dances, comedies, masquerades, 
frequenting public-houses, or gambling, or neglecting 
to attend the religious meetings or the Holy Supper. 
Each inquiry was carefully conducted, without preci- 
pitation, but without delay. Witnesses for and against 
were duly examined, the public then had to withdraw, 
and the innocence or guilt of the inculpated party was 
decided. The censures consisted of suspension from 
the communion without being publicly named from 
the pulpit, suspension with such public naming, finally 

4. Reception into the peace of the Church. This 
took place on repentance \ but in grave cases a public 
confession was exacted, made kneeling on the ground 
behind the communion table. 

5. Diversmatters. Visiting families to heal domestic 
troubles, visiting the lukewarm, visiting prisons, the 
college, the hospital. This department extended 
itself in troublous times over the whole civil govern- 


ment of the city, even to the extent of taking measures 
for its defence, electing captains for each quarter, 
raising taxes for payment of the troops. In a word, 
the police, the city guard, the inspection of tlie con- 
duct of the inhabitants, all the chief affairs of the city, 
and consequently nearly all the powers, both of the 
municipal as well as the royal authorities, gradually 
became the object of its deliberations, its votes, and its 

The consistory was wholly renewed every year, but 
by a marvellous stroke of statesmanship the members 
going out continued to form part of the actual govern- 
ing body, under the title of the old consistory. In 
the election of pastors, the civic authorities, the magis- 
trates, and consuls were invited to unite themselves to 
the consistory old and new, so that this important 
matter was settled by all the notables of the Church 
in an extraordinary assembly denominated the As- 
semblv of the three bodies. Pastors were of two sorts, 
permanent or temporary j of these last were the pro- 
fessors in the school of theology. 

There were three services on Sunday and one on 
Wednesday morning, during which the shops were 
closed, no carriages or carts allowed to go about, and 
the city gates padlocked. During the remainder of 
the week there were public prayers every evening, 
and catechising on Thursdays. All these services were 
taken by the pastors in turn, and he who commenced 
on Sunday was called the pastor of the week. The 
salaries of the ministers were raised by a certain rate, 
levied by the consuls of the city on each family, and 
detailed in a book called la tariff e. 

This condition of things at Nimes could only have 
existed in its entirety at such times as the Huguenots 
held the upper hand in the troubles which now broke 
out in France. In the rapid fluctuation of events 


they are one montli lords and masters of the city ; and 
the next obliged to fly, or at best to hold their meet- 
ings in secret. Thus it was with them in the spring 
of 1561, but towards Pentecost they got more bold, 
and openly celebrated that feast in a garden in the 
suburbs of the city. The tables were prepared by an 
elder, and two communions were held : one at break 
of day, presided over by the Huguenot pastor Mauget ; 
the second at eight o'clock in the morniug, at which 
Martin, a barbe of the Waldensian Church, officiated. 
He was a native of the Val Luserne, in the valleys of 
Piedmont, and had become pastor of the Waldensian 
Church of Meundol, ruthlessly destroyed by Francis I., 
and he was now in a temporary sense one of the 
pastors at Nimes. 


Reform and ^ the Gentlemen op France.' 

Among the higher classes the Reformation found many 
earnest adherents, a thing in no way surprising, 
as the vast majority in all classes suffer sadly when 
might, and not right, reigns supreme. Three women, 
Margaret of Navarre, her daughter, Jeanne d'Albret, 
mother of Henry IV., and Louise de Montmorenci, a 
contemporary of Margaret and the mother of the 
Colignys, are illustrious examples. The sons of 
Louise de Montmorenci seem to have been given to 
the cause, in order to show through all time what sort 
of men its principles could make. They began life 
loaded with the wealth and honours of this world. 
Odet Coligny was a cardinal at sixteen ; Gaspard was 
colonel -general in the French army and an admiral of 
France ; Francois, the younger, was lord of Andelot, 
and, like his brothers, had splendid prospects. Short 


of tlie throne^ there was no position at which they 
might not reasonably aim. Dandelot was the first 
to come under the influence of the Reformation, 
Gaspard apparently the last. Of a slower and deeper 
nature than his brothers, he followed them first, then 
finally led them and the whole Protestant party. 

This long process of cautious deliberation followed 
by bold, sustained action is characteristic of Coligny. 
In civil matters it was long before he took the head 
of the party opposed to the Guises. Neither he nor 
his brothers appear to have been in any way connected 
with the conspiracy of Amboise — a political attempt 
to throw off the tyranny of the Guises, in which many 
Protestant gentlemen were concerned. 

But it was chiefly among the lower noblesse, the 
gentlemen of Frauce, that the cause of Reform made 
the greatest progress. When Charles IX, came to 
the throne, nearly the whole of the French nobility 
had deserted Catholicism. The poorer nobles were 
in a most uncomfortable position. They were a caste 
as distinctly different from the plebeians around them 
as the Brahmin is from the Sudra. They could not 
enter into trade, and would not live in the cities. 
They sometimes enlisted as private soldiers or became 
leaders of bands of mercenaries. For others whose 
ideas were more healthy, a special trade, that of glass- 
making, was reserved, and in the course of this history 
we shall more than once find some illustrious servants 
of the Lord among these gentilhommes verriers. Under 
such circumstances the poorer French nobility were 
especial sufferers from the forces which work in society 
just in the degree it is most completely under the 
iufluence of the laws of nature. They found those 
they regarded as their inferiors rising in wealth, while 
those above gradually absorbed their ever-diminishing 
patrimonies. Dissatisfied with their lot, they welcomed 


anything that promised a change in the order of things, 
and to them a Reformation in religion could not help 
meaning an efforfc towards the Reform of crying social 
and political evils. Some were attracted by purely 
religious considerations, but the majority, it cannot bo 
doubted_, attached themselves to the cause of Reform 
from mixed considerations, in which a hope to better 
their own condition was an important element. 

Their spirit is well illustrated in the book which 
Henry the Fourth called TUe Soldiers' Bible, a book 
whose real title, Montluc's Commentaries, gives no idea 
of the entertainment in store for the reader. The 
Sieur de Montluc was one of those poor gentlemen 
who by hard fighting and the blindest loyalty passed 
through every grade of soldiering until he obtained the 
baton of a Marshal of France. At threescore and 
fifteen he sat down to write the history of his life, 
which covers all the first period of the Reformation in 
France ; and if he had been vigorous with his sword^ 
he was even more so with his pen. 

^ All things,' according to Montluc, ' depend on the 
gentry, so that if a man could not get their love he 
would never perform anything worth speaking of; a 
remark which throws a flood of light on the position 
they took with reference to the cause which they 
espoused, and to the rulers against whom they so often 
rebelled. They dominated over the first, and kept 
the latter in a perpetual state of alarm. 

These gentlemen delighted in a life of strife and 
bloodshed; they scorned to live in towns, where they 
would have to compete with the burghers for the 
municipal offices. However, to judge from the Sieur 
de Montluc — and he is without doubt a typical char- 
acter — they were sincerely religious. Montluc affirms 
that he was never in action without imploring the 
Divine assistance, and never passed a day of his life 



since lie arrived at tlie ao-e of man witbout callini^: 
npon the name of God and asking pardon for liis sins. 
And he assures us that many times in the sight of the 
enemy ho was so possessed with fear that he felt his 
heart beat and his liuibs tremble ; but no sooner had 
ho made his prayer to God than he felt his spirits and 
his heart return. 

All this shows the soil on which in the upper rauks 
of French life the preaching of the Reformers fell; 
for Montluc himself was^ and continued to the end_, a 
stout Catholic^ fiercely struggling against the Hugue- 
nots^ unable^ as he says^ to ^ believe the Holy Ghost 
is among a people who rise in rebellion against their 
king.' And as his loyalty was only just a little more 
thorough and more absolutely unquestioning than that 
of other good men around him^ we give his doctrine 
on the subject^ that we may better estimate the 
struggle it must have cost a man so intensely loyal as 
Coligny to take up arms. 

'■ Vi, therefore, you would have God to bo assisting 
you, you must strip yourself of ambition, avarice, 
rancour, and be full of the love and loyalty we all owe 
our prince. And in so doing, although his quarrel 
should not be just, God will not for all that withdraw 
His assistance from you : for it is not for us to ask our 
prince if his cause bo good or evil, but only to obey 

It is easy to imagine the horror of such a man when 
he heard that the consuls of St. Hazard, being remon- 
strated with on account of their rebellious proceedings^ 
and told that the king would be highly displeased with 
them, replied : ^ What king ? We are the kings. As 
to him of whom you speak (it was Charles IX., then 
a boy), we'll give him a whipping, and set him a trade, 
to teach him to get a living as others do.' He tells us 
it was not only at St. Hazard that they talked at this 



rate, but it was common discourse in every place. So 
he took the law into his own hands, and proceeded to 
execute summary vengeance against all the rogues 
who durst thus wag their wicked tongues against the 
majesty of their king and sovereign. Accompanied 
by two haugmeu, he struck off heads, hanged on trees, 
and flogged to death his unhappy prisoners. And he 
thought if every one had been as fast as he to put out 
the fire, it would not have consumed all. 

Such was the world in the midst of which these 
little Reformed Churches came into beinof. At first 
you hear plaintive voices risiug in prayer or quavering 
forth one of Gretier's touching melodies : the scene 
an old kitchen, the time midnight, the light from the 
blazing log upon the earth showing a group of earnest, 
toilworn men and women who have met to praise God 
and tell what He has done for their souls. Then as 
the small hours of the night are coming on, the doors 
are slowly unbarred, the little company separate with 
many words of fraternal love ; each takes his lantern or 
trusts to the kindly light of the stars, and they all are 
soon dispersed over the city. 

But other scenes are soon enacted. Learned men, 
doctors in law and logic, or men once eminent in 
ecclesiastical rank, are holding assemblies in castellated 
mansions in the midst of noble parks, the chatellain 
with his sword at his side, his lady with her farthin- 
gale and ruff, their relatives and friends, their vassals 
and retainers, their servants and their serfs, are all 
collected to hear an earnest exhortation in choice and 
powerful French, to sing the noble psalms of Marot 
and Beza, and to hear read what they emphatically 
call the Word of God. 

But amongst high and low in the conventicle held 
in the seignorial hall, and in the conventicle held in the 
burgher^s kitchen, the one subject that touches every 


heart, that awakens the most passionate feeling, is the 
account narrated by an eye-witness of the martyrdom 
of the Lord^s elect. 

As the isolated executions, the murdering of one or 
half a dozen enlarges into massacres where a whole 
congregation is put to the sword, the spirit of furious 
wrath can no longer be restrained. These gentlemen, 
accustomed for ages to vindicate the slightest stain 
on their honour, the least harm done to one of the 
meanest of their serfs, by the summary vengeance of 
the sword, will no longer endure to see their dearest, 
most venerated friends thus treated. Everything 
combines to send their blood up to boiling heat ; their 
new faith and their old wrongs, their private designs 
and the public misery. Nor can their divines restrain 
them, who teach so unhesitatingly the equal impor- 
tance of the Old and New Testament. In the former 
they find abundant support. They are now the Israel 
of God, their enemies are the Gentiles, who are ever 
warring against the Lord and His anointed. They 
guard their swords, they put their morions on their 
liead, and they sally forth to sing the Huguenot 
Marseillaise, the grand and majestic paraphrase of the 
sixty-eighth Psalm composed by Beza, and set to one of 
the most lovely, the most plaintive of melodies, made 
by an old composer named Matthew Gretier. Would 
you recall the intensely religious spirit in which these 
old Huguenot wars were undertaken, play over the 
music given in the appendix. Read the Psalm in 
English and French, and imagine its power intoned 
by a whole army of warriors, accompanied by the 
simple music of the day, the drum and the flute. So 
great was the enthusiasm its appeals and its prophetic 
denunciations excited, that they sang it on their knees, 
which, one day observing, the Duke of Joyeuse, 
minion to Henry III., and commander of the Catholic 


army, cried. ^ Look, look, tliey kueel ! ^ ^ Yes, my 
lord,' said some old warrior, ' wliea the Hugaeuots 
kneel, ifc is then they mean to fight/ 

But our narrative has not arrived at this time. 
As yet the difference between the Protestant and 
Catholic gentlemen of France is not very apparent. 
Nevertheless, it is the difference between law and jus- 
tice, of which the honest Catholic and the sincere 
Huguenot were each in their rough way respectively 
the champions. That there were Huguenots inclined 
to defy the law we have seen; that there were 
Catholics who considered it a cumbrous and useless 
impediment we have also seen. The Guise tyranny 
affords a monstrous example, in the way it avenged 
the conspiracy of Amboise. The conspirators were 
mainly Huguenot gentlemen, whose object was to 
deliver themselves and France from this tyranny. 
They were unsuccessful, and those who had engaged 
in it were executed without even the least form of law. 
The square in Amboise was covered with gibbets, 
blood ran down the streets; as executioners were not 
to be had in sufficient numbers, the prisoners were 
tied hands and feet and thrown into the Loire. The 
leading men, kept for the delectation of the court, were 
executed in its presence : the queen-mother, her sons, 
her maids of honour, and the courtiers coming to the 
windows to see them executed. 

What the sword could not do the pen accomplished. 
Frangois Hotman, who had been converted by behold- 
ing the constancy of the raartyrs, wrote an awful 
pamphlet, published in 1560, in which he stigmatised 
the cardinal as the Tiger of France. ' Each line,' says 
Henri Martin, ' of the bitter eloquence of the Calvin- 
istic Nemesis seems traced with the point of the sword 
and the blood of martyrs.' 

Agrippa d'Aubigne, passing with his father that 


same year tlirongli Amboise^ saw the Leads of tlie 
victims still on the gibbets. It was fair-clay, and there 
were seven or eight thousand people in the streets,, 
nevertheless the old man could not restrain himself 
from crying out, ^ The butchers ! they have decapitated 
France ! '' As the lad looked up, wondering at his 
father^s emotion, the latter said, '^ My child, after 
mine, thy head must not be spared to avenge these 
leaders full of honour. If thou sparest it, thou shalt 
have my curse ! ^ 


Science and Art among the early Huguenots. 

Among the Huguenot psalters I have examined was 
one of 1556, a tiny pocket edition, giving not only 
the music to each psalm, but all the Huguenot formu- 
laries of prayer, the whole printed in the very smallest 
type. On the frontispiece is a woodcut — a hand 
coming out of a cloud holds a pen crowned with a 
laurel wreath — appropriate emblem of a revolution 
which owed so much to the pen. 

^ One of the advantages of the Eeformation,' says a 
Catholic writer, '' was to have for its interpreters the 
greater part of the learned men of the day.^ As 
early as the reign of Francis I., Guillaume Bude, a 
learned man who stimulated that monarch to found 
the College Royal, gave strong presumptive evidence 
that he was in sympathy with the anti-ritualistic move- 
ment, for he left orders in his will that his body 
should be buried at night, by the light of a torch or 
two, without any public ceremonies; and the proba- 
bility is confirmed by the fact that his wife was one 
of the ^ evangelicals,^ and three of his sons figure 
among the Reformed. In a short space of time 


the leaven liad so spread among the learned that a 
majority of the professors in the University of France 
were suspected of heresy. Such was the case with 
Vatable, professor of Hebrew, who translated the 
psalms for Clement Marot, and Mercier, his disciple, 
who was even more decidedly Protestant ; with 
Toursal, the Hellenist, and Postal, the Orientalist, 
with Montaure, a clever mathematician, and others, 
not forgetting Tournebe, the most learned of them all. 
Of those who served the learned we find the printer 
Wechel and the publishers Estienne had leanings 
towards Reform ; while among those who patronised 
them, the Cardinal of Chatillon and the Bishop of 
Valence might be counted as sympathetic. But the 
most important adhesion in the way of learning to the 
cause of Reform was that of Pierre de Ramee, one of 
those powerful intellects which rise in stirring times 
from the very bottom to the highest rung on the 
social ladder. Pierre de Ramee was the son of a 
labouring man, his grandfather having been a char- 
coal burner. A little boy, he twice trudged to Paris 
to get an education, but was driven back by want of 
food. His uncle, a carpenter, took pity on him, and 
he became servant to a student, studying at night, 
until he began to suflfer from ophthalmia. 

But he made his way through all the learned cob- 
webs and all the educational briars of his time, not, 
however, without becoming bitterly contemptuous of the 
mediaeval methods of instruction, and an opponent of 
Aristotle. Against that ^ adored ^ philosopher Ramee 
maintained a life-long war. In his Master of Arts 
Thesis, he undertook to prove that all Aristotle had ever 
said was false. He was applauded at the time as an 
ingenious dialectician, but when the learned found he 
was in earnest, the Aristotelians became furious and 
implacable. Even Beza could not forgive him for 


his opposition to Aristotle. He was driven away for 
a time from the University, but came back under 
the a3gis of the Cardinal of Lorraine. Among the 
many benefits which that powerful prelate had con- 
ferred on him, he declared the chief was his conversion 
to the cause of Eeform, into which when once he clearly 
saw his way Ramee threw himself with characteristic 
intensity. He designed to reform all the liberal arts : 
grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, as well as the pro- 
nunciation of Latin. With martyrs all around him, 
he could not but foresee the end ; but the spirit in 
which he worked may be judged from the following 
words uttered in 1563 : ^I am glad to think, if I have 
been beaten by so many tempests, if I have passed 
over so many rocks, that my misfortunes will, at least, 
be useful in rendering the route to you more easy 
and more secure.' 

Such was the spirit of enlightened Reform. It 
looked with peculiar interest on the next generation. 
The State in those days, and up to the time of the 
Revolution, made no provision for the general education 
of the people. This was entirely in the charge of the 
Church; it was therefore j^art of a pastor's business 
to teach the young, and a catechism was very early 
prepared for the purpose. However, the schoolmaster 
soon appears, and occupies an honoured position in the 
Church. 'The school,' says Michelet, 'is the first word 
of the Reformation and the grandest. It writes at the 
head of its revolution : Universal instruction, schools 
for boys and girls, free schools, where all are seated 
together, rich and poor.' 

The Catholic writer who notes how the learned 
supported the cause of Reform, remarks also that it 
had the privilege and monopoly of talent. Jean 
Goujon, the earliest and one of the greatest of French 
sculptors, Claude Goudimel, the musician, and the 


illustrious Bernard Palissy, were all Huguenots. Nor 
must we forget Clement Marot^ wlio did for the Reform 
one of the very greatest services possible, by putting into 
verse the psalms of David. On their first appearance 
they were all the vogue, the very courtiers sang them. 
If in Marot the Reformation may claim to have struck 
one of the earliest and best notes in the French lyre, 
in Du Bartas it gave Prance its first poet in the heroic 
style. Poetry and Reform are twin brothers. He 
who aspires to better the world is already a poet. 


Catherine de Medici. 

The death of Francis II., in 15G0, seemed a dawn of 
hope. Power passed from the Guises into the hands 
of Catherine de Medici. She chose for her minister 
Michel niospital, and made him chancellor. He 
proved a man of astonishing virtue, thoroughly honest, 
loyal to the true interests of the king and the country, 
and a friend and protector of the Reformed Churches. 

The royal treasury was in debt to no less an amount 
than 45,500,000 livres, equal to 140 or 145 millions of 
francs, and at the value of money now-a- days probably 
equal to 400 millions. In order to meet this great 
deficit, he advised the queen-mother to convoke the 
States -General. Their meeting brought out in clear 
rehef the desire of the country for a thorough reforma- 
tion, civil and religious. 

The orators of the nobility and of the third estate 
attacked the clergy. The first wished that the debts 
of the State should be paid at the expense of the 
ecclesiastical order, and that the clergy should be 
deprived of all civil and feudal jurisdiction. The 
orators of the third estate declared that the Church 


could never return to its priuiitive sincerity until the 
priests from the highest to the lowest had amended 
their three principal vices_, ignorance^ avarice^ and 
superfluous pomp. 

This was no temporary burst of indignation. For 
seventy-seven years prior to the calling of this States- 
General_, that is from 1484 to 1561^ the third estate 
had again and again demanded a long list of reforms 
in the Church. 

The day upon which the States- General closed^ the 
31st of January, 1561, L^Hospital signed an ordinance 
which decreed in the name of the king the greater part 
of the reforms desired by the nation. The edict was 
registered at Orleans, whence its name, and not, as 
usual, in the Parliament of Paris, because the chancellor 
knew that its provisions had many violent enemies 
among the chats foiirres, as Pabelais called the gentle- 
men of the furred robes at the Palais de Justice. 

At this auspicious moment, the selfish ambition of 
the Bourbon princes, who were regarded as the leaders 
of the cause of Reform, nearly spoilt all. The King of 
Navarre, the unworthy husband of Jeanne d''Albret, 
wanted to be regent. However, he was soon overcome 
by one of Catherine's Delilahs, and so reduced to 

While Navarre had been recalcitrant, Catherine had 
souofht to arouse the Constable Montmorenci asrainst 
the Calvinists, by telling him that they were proposing 
to inquire into the gifts and largesses obtained from 
the late kings, and that they even spoke of compel- 
ling restitution. The provincial estates of the Ile- 
de-France, who wanted to make the King of Navarre 
lieutenant-general of France, and the real head of 
the government, demanded an inquest into the public 
thefts, and in this demand they were encouraged by 


This intimation led Montmorenci^ who was uncle 
to the Coh"gnySj henceforth to range himself on the 
side opposed to Eeform. He was seen going to mass 
at the same chapel as the Dtike of Guise, and on 
Easter Day they took the communion together. The 
pair now joined themselves to Saint- Andre, and 
the Triumvirate, as they were called, determined on 
a plan for exterminating the Calvinists. The chief 
action was to centre in France, where every sectarian 
w^as to perish, but its head and natural director 
was to be Philip of Spain, under whom a grand 
alliance of Catholic Europe was to be formed. The 
German Catholics were to prevent the German Luther- 
ans from going to help the French Huguenots; the 
Swiss Catholics were to rise against the Swiss Protes- 
tants ; and the Duke of Savoy was to fall on the 
centre of heresy, the accursed city of Geneva, and 
destroy all its people without distinction of age or sex. 
For funds they looked to the pope, to the revenues of 
the Church, and confiscation of the property of the 

While this dark project was fermenting in the minds 
of the three conspirators, la imuvre commune, as the 
Catholic mob of Paris was tenderly called by the 
Parliament, became perceptibly agitated. Led by the 
black-robed bands of the University, they attacked an 
hotel where the Calvinists were in the habit of meet- 
ing, broke the windows, forced the door, and killed 
the porter. A general massacre would have ensued, 
had not the mob caught sight of more drawn swords 
than they bargained for. L'Hospital tried to stop 
these outrages by threatening to hang everybody 
who used the injurious words. Papists, Huguenots, or 
who attacked houses under pretext of breaking up 
illicit assemblies. The same edict also renewed the 
order to set all persons free arrested on account of 


religion, while those who had fled the kingdom were 
invited to return. 

The Parliament of Paris refused to allow this edict 
to be published in the capital. The chancellor replied 
by a request to the bishops to render a full account 
of the ecclesiastical property in each diocese, upon 
which the clergy, who in the States- General had 
protested against every design tending to attack their 
possessions, now turned for protection to the house of 

The Cardinal of Lorraine had learnt the art of 
managing women as a courtier of Diana of Poitiers ; he 
now showed what he could do even with an enemy, 
succeeding to such a degree with the queen-mother, 
that L^Hospital had to consent to a united sitting of 
the Council and the Parliament, with a view to deter- 
mining the nature of the legislation with regard to the 
Reformed. After a debate of three weeks, the friends 
of justice were defeated by a majority of three, and 
it was resolved that whosoever took part in heretical 
conventicles should incur pain of death, simple heresy 
to be punished with banishment. While Guise de- 
clared that he would sustain this edict with his sword, 
and Coligny that it could never be executed, the 
chancellor set himself to soften all its provisions, and 
to render it difficult to work, by introducing as many 
leofal checks as he could devise. 



The Confeeence at Poissy. 

This apparent defeat in the direction of Heformation 
and the pacification of the country did not deter 
Catherine and her chancellor from proceeding to carry 
out the scheme proposed by Dubourg in the Parlia- 


inenfc of Paris : a national synod for agreement on 
religious reform. However^ they did not dare to call 
it more than a colloquy, or conference. The feelino- 
throughout the country was so strongly in favour of 
Eeform, that, notwithstanding their late victory, the 
Guises had to submit. The cardinal hoped, by inviting 
a number of doctors of the Augsburg Confession, to 
create a dispute on the doctrine of the Real Presence, 
and thus make vividly manifest the sectarian spirit of 
the Reformation. 

On the other hand, L^Hospital and the queen- 
mother were bent on obtainino' some arranofement 
with the Huguenots, which they could force on the 
pope and the Council of Trent, which, though twice 
interrupted, was on the eve of being opened for the 
third time. 

The least that Catherine expected the dissidents to 
demand is shown in the letter which she wrote to pre- 
pare the mind of the pope for the negotiation. Re- 
moval of images from the altars and the sanctuary, 
simplification of the rites of baptism, the communion 
in both kinds, abolition of private masses, suppression 
of the j'ete of the Holy Sacrament, and the chanting 
of the psalms in the vulgar tongue; such were the 
reforms Catholic monarchs could propose and popes 
consider in the sixteenth century. 

The conference opened at Poissy, the 9fch of Sep- 
tember, 1561. Theodore de Beza, Peter Martyr, and 
eleven other Calvinist divines, together with twenty- 
two lay deputies, representing the Protestant Re- 

Born in 1519, Beza was just in the flower of his 
fame. The chosen disciple of Calvin, he had lately 
succeeded to his master's position in Geneva, the great 
Reformer's departure being at hand. He came there- 
fore to Poissy with all the authority of the recognised 


Lead of tlie Calvinistic religion. Aud^ certainly, the 
colloquy at Poissy did not fail from want of tact on 
the part of Beza, for he had all the qualities of the 
best order of diplomatists. Intelligent^ firm, even 
severe, his handsome visage, agreeable manners, and 
ready eloquence, softened off the hard points of Cal- 
vinism. Sincere, and witliout the least suspicion of 
originality, he won the confidence of friends and foes. 

The Protestants asked for such arrangements as 
would have made the conference a reality : that it 
should be presided over by the king and the great 
officers of state, that they should debate on equal 
terms with the bishops, and not as criminals before 
judges, that all difi'erences should be decided by the 
Word of God alone, that secretaries should be ap- 
pointed on both sides in equal numbers to draw up 
the account, which should be agreed to mutually. 

Bnt Catherine begged them to be content with her 
royal word, and as far as she was able she was true 
to all that she had promised, for no one, except 
L' Hospital, was more desirous for the success of the 

She brought the young king, then only eleven years 
of age, to the conference, and he opened the proceed- 
ings by a speech, in which he exhorted those who took 
part in the proceedings to lay aside all passion, and to 
discuss simply for the honour of Grod, the discharge of 
their conscience, and the re-establishment of the peace 
of the realm. 

Then the chancellor spoke, urging- that there was no 
need for consulting books, the point was to under- 
stand the Word of Grod and conform to that. Instead 
of regarding the Reformed as enemies, they should 
remember that they were as much baptized Christians 
as themselves, and receive them as fathers did their 
children. Tbe Cardinal of Tournon asked for a copy of 


the chancellor's speech, that he might consider it with 
his brethren; it contained, he said, important points 
not mentioned in the letters of convocation. 

The bishops also took care to declare that they did 
not understand that they were holding a national 
council, but had only met to reform abuses under the 
good pleasure of the pope. 

Theodore do Beza and his little company were then 
introduced by the Duke of Guise. They tried to pass 
beyond the bar which separated them from the pre- 
lates, but were refused, and kept standing throughout 
the debate like so many criminals on their trial. But 
Beza, as if to compel that recognition of equality be- 
fore God which was denied them before men, knelt 
down with all the pastors, and making a solemn con- 
fession of the sins of the people of France, implored 
a blessing on the assembly. He was listened to with 
mingled astonishment and emotion.^ 

As the colloquy had been arranged to go wrong on 
the question of the Real Presence, it proceeded like 
a machine that had been tampered with. As long as 
Beza spoke of other questions he was patiently listened 
to, but when he stated his doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper a murmur ran along the episcopal benches, 
and cries of hiaspliemavit v/ere raised. In an after- 
meeting held by the bishops the Cardinal of Lorraine 
professed himself shocked. ^ Would to God,^ he said, 
' that either Beza had not spoken, or that wo had been 
deaf ! ' It was determined that one of the most learned 
doctors, probably some Sorbonne professor — for this 
body were particularly infuriated against the Protes- 

1 The Confession of Faith adopted by the Eeformed Church 
of France (see p. 30) was presented to Charles IX. at Poissy, 
by Beza. Schaff' s Creeds of the Evangelical rrofestant Church, 
vol. ii. p. 357. 


tauts — should draw np an answer wlncli the Cardinal 
of Lorraine would pronounce. 

The speech was delivered a week afterwards, and 
Beza wished to reply on the spot, but the bishops 
refused to allow him. The Cardinal de Tournon prayed 
the king to drive out of the kingdom every one who 
would not sign what the Cardinal of Lorraine had said. 
^ The assembly of prelates/ he urged, ^ begs this very 
humbly, in order that in this very Christian kingdom 
there may be but one faith, one law, and one king.^ 

The Cardinal of Lorraine knew, however, that all 
the success of the colloquy lay with the Protestants, 
and that unless some stigma could be attached to their 
representatives, the friends of the Religion would be 
greatly emboldened. He could not produce his Augs- 
burg divines, for one of them had fallen ill of the 
plague on the road ; but suddenly taking a paper from 
his breast he read three or four of the principal articles 
of the Lutheran confession, and asked if the Calvinist 
ministers would sign them. Beza parried this palpable 
trap by remarking that they would first of all like to 
know if the cardinal and his fellow prelates, repudiating 
the doctrine of transubstantiation, were prepared to 
set them the example. Lorraine, nettled at Beza's 
audacity, cried, ' We are not equal ; I am called upon 
to subscribe to no confession, neither to this nor to 
yours.' ' Then,' replied Beza, with a nalvcto that was 
absolutely unanswerable, ' if you do not wish to sub- 
scribe to it yourself, it is not just to ask us to do so.' 

However, L'Hospital and the queen-mother, not- 
withstanding so many apparent difficulties, persevered. 
They knew the heart and the intellect of France were 
with them. So now they would not let Beza go until 
an effort had been made to produce a common formu- 
lary which all moderate men could adopt. A com- 
mittee was accordingly appointed^ including on the one 


side Beza^ Peter Martyr^ aud three Protestant pastors, 
and on the other the Bishops of Yalence and Seez, and 
three Catholic doctors. In the common confession of 
faith these ten theologians prepared it was declared 
that : 

'^ Jesus Christy in His Holy Supper, truly presents 
and exhibits to us the substance of His body and of 
His blood by the operation of His Holy Spirit, and 
that we receive, and eat sacramentally, spiritually, and 
by faith this same body which is dead for us/ 

The queen and L^Hospital appeared to have been 
full of hope from this agreement of the rival theolo- 
gians, aud Beza is said to have been under the impres- 
sion that the Cardinal of Lorraine fully approved this 
confession. But when it was read before the assembly 
at Poissy on the 4tli of October, the majority of prelates 
and doctors declared it insufficient, captious, and full 
of heresy. They prepared another, in which they 
declared that the body of Jesus Christ was received in 
the Eucharist really and substantially, and they prayed 
the king to compel Beza and his adherents to subscribe 
to this or quit the kingdom. 

Thus the colloquy of Poissy was shipwrecked ; and 
the best and only opportunity that the Gallican Church 
had to make terms with its most earnest, most believ- 
iug people passed away. However, the effort was not 
without its fruits. There was a great increase among 
the adherents to Protestantism, one of whom was, as 
has been said, the celebrated philosopher, Pierre de 
Eamee, or Eamus. 

His decision w^as brought about, not by the argu- 
ments of Beza, but by the reply of the Cardinal of 
Lorraine, in which that wily speaker, while gracefully 
acknowledging the abuses of the Church and the vices 
of the clergy, and confessing the extreme superiority 
of the primitive Church over the Roman Church, con- 



eluded, however, tliat after all a man ouglit to remain 
attached to the latter. The clear and logical mind of 
Hamus would not allow him to be satisfied with a 
conclusion so directly opposed to the scope of the 
argument, and he wrote to his benefactor to say that 
since he had shown him that of all the fifteen centuries 
since Christ, the first was the golden age, while all 
that followed had grown more and more vicious and 
corrupt, he had determined to attach himself to the 
age of gold, and reject all the rest. 

On the 17th of January, 1562, an edict was published 
giving the Protestants the free exercise of their re- 
ligion. At the College of Prasles, over which Ramus 
presided, and where he had no doubt commented on 
the scandalous way in which part of the second com- 
mandment was suppressed, the students made an icono- 
clastic raid on the chapel, and broke all the statues of 
the saints. 

If violence and iconoclasm broke out in Paris under 
the influence of this breakdown of the attempt to bring 
about a moderate reform in Church and State, how 
much more was it to be expected in the fiery and 
tempestuous south ! The Protestants in Nimes having 
been refused the use of the cathedral by the Estates 
of Languedoc, unexpectedly got possession of it late 
in 1561. They were coming out of the neighbouring 
Church of St. Eugenie, which had been granted, when 
they saw a hubbub at the door of the cathedral. Some 
ill-behaved children had been driven out by the beadle. 
Two noblemen coming up went into the cathedral, 
and the Huguenots immediately followed. Terrified 
at the sight of them, the bishop and his clergy fled, 
whereupon the intruders broke the images and demo- 
lished the altar. Emboldened by this, they ran in 
ever-increasing crowds into several other churches^ 
destroying some of the sacred vessels. Two days after^ 


their great preacher^ Viret^ preached in the cathedral, 
it being Christmas, and received there the public 
abjuration of the Prior of Millau, in Rouergne, of the 
Abbess of TarasQon, and several nuns of the abbey of 
St. Sauveur. On the first Sunday in the new year, 
1562, two communion services were held in the 
cathedral, and three ministers were ordained by the 
imposition of hands. At the communion, nearly 8,000 
communicants sat down, having at the head the mem- 
bers of the consistory, the magistrates and the consuls, 
in their red robes and hoods. 

However, the cathedral did not remain long in their 
hands, for the edict of January, 1562, granting the 
free exercise of their religion to the Protestants, re- 
quired the return of all the churches they had taken 
from the Catholics ; besides, their own provincial 
synod decided this ought to be done, and in fact all 
ecclesiastical property of which they had become pos- 
sessed. It opposed image-breaking, burning crosses, 
or any other scandalous act, all gatherings in the 
streets, and the wearing arms in religious assemblies. 


Terrible Position of the Huguenots. 

The friends of corruption and superstition felt strength- 
ened by the failure of the colloquy. It was a great 
blow to the reconciliatory policy of Catherine and her 
minister, and the Guises began to prepare for the 
extermination of their foes. The first thing they 
sought to do was to prevent the German Lutherans 
from helping the French Calvinists. Four of the 
Guises went to Alsace to win over Duke Christopher 
of Wiirtemberg, a German prince, very influential and 
much respected. ^Mass,' the Cardinal of Lorraine 


told him, ' was no longer celebrated in three of his 
bishoprics unless there were communicants, and he 
was going to abolish it altogether/ At Duke Chris- 
topher's explanations of his own creed^ the Duke of 
Guise cried out, ^ Oh, if that's it, I'm a Lutheran ! ' 
After this attempt to hoodwink the Germans, this 
same duke, with one of his brothers,, went to a little 
town in the domains of the family, called Vassy, and 
there, on Sunday^ the 1st of March, 1562, slaughtered 
sixty Calvinists, and this, notwithstanding the Edict of 
Toleration issued by the Royal Council on the 17th of 
January of the same year. 

At the news of this truculent deed the Calvinists 
throughout France were agitated and indignant. Beza, 
supported by the Prince de Conde, at once demanded 
justice of the queen-mother, the latter offering to 
support her with an army of 50,000 Protestants. 
Catherine begged Guise to put off his return to Paris. 
He came nevertheless, entering the city at the head 
of 2,000 horsemen, and was received at the Porte St. 
Denis to the cry of Ywe Guise ! all the Protestants 
quitting the city. 

The queen-mother tried to keep on good terms with 
both parties ; Conde she authorized to take up arms, 
recommending herself and her sons to his protection, 
while she told the Parisians she would bring the king 
to Paris and the citizens should be armed. However, 
she did not keep her word, but went to Fontainebleau, 
leaving the King of Navarre, who had ceased to be 
Huguenot^ to represent royalty in Paris. 

Here was a position for the Calvinists. A great 
conspiracy for their extermination, the royal power 
dominated by the leaders of the conspiracy. Were 
they to allow themselves to be slaughtered^ all law 
and justice to be trodden under foot, and the Religion 
suppressed ? Michelet blaDies the Huguenot leaders 


for allowing so many years to pass in silent endurance 
of atrocious injustice ; and he seems to think that the 
final shipwreck of their cause was due to their long 
incertitude on the capital question^ Ought we to be 
obedient to the powers that be^ just or unjust ? 

This was the real question which Coliguy was called 
upon to answer at this terrible crisis. He was in an 
agony of doubt. His friends gathered round him at 
Chatillon^ urging him to mount his horse and join 
Conde. For two days the discussion went on, and 
still he refused. But at night, after he had retired to 
rest and had fallen asleep, he was awoke by the deep 
sighs of his wife. ^ Here/ she said, * we lie, lapped 
in luxury, while the bodies of our brothers, members 
of Christ, bones of our bones, flesh of our flesh, lie in 
dungeons or in the open fields, at the mercy of the 
dogs and the birds of prey. When I think of the 
prudent language with which you have closed the 
mouths of your brothers, I tremble lest to be so wise 
for men should prove to be unwise for God. Can you 
refuse to use the military genius He has given you 
in the service of His children? The knight's sword 
which you carry, is it to oppress the afflicted, or to 
cut the talons of tyrants ? You have confessed the 
justice of taking up arms, can you give up the love 
of right because you doubt its success ? God takes 
away sense from those who resist Him under pretext 
of sparing blood ; He knows how to save the soul which 
wills to lose itself, and to cause that soul to be lost 
that seeks to take care of itself. Monsieur, the spilt 
blood of our brethren and your wife cry out to God 
that you will be the murderer of those you do not 
prevent being murdered ! ' 

To this impassioned appeal Coligny listened patiently. 
Then sadly going over all his arguments of the pre- 
vious evening — ^the folly of popular risings, the doubt- 


fulness of entering an unformed party, tlie diflSculty 
of struggling against those wlio had possession of 
an ancient State, in maintaining which so many were 
interested, of commencing a civil war in the midst of 
external peace — he said to her : ' When you have 
reflected over these arguments, lay your hand on your 
breast and see if you have constancy to endure the 
reproaches most people make when they judge a cause 
by its failure, the treasons of our own people, flight, 
exile, shame, nakedness, hunger, and, what will be 
more diflacult to bear, that of your children. Then 
think of your death by the executioner, after having 
seen your husband dragged througli the streets and 
exposed to the contempt of the vulgar, and for a 
conclusion, your children the degraded valets of your 
enemies, strengthened and triumphant through your 
efibrts. I give you three weeks to consider, and if, 
after then, you are willing to accept all these chances, 
I will go to perish with you and your friends.' 

' The three weeks are past,' she replied. ' I sum- 
mon you in the name of God to defraud us no longer ! ' 

Coligny said no more, but next morning mounted 
his horse and rode ofl" to join Conde. The Rubicon 
was passed, and the first civil war began (1562). 

Coligny's interior struggle is a clue to that which 
the whole body of French Protestants had gone 
through, since the death of Henry II. Considering all 
things, no one can be surprised that they came to 
the resolution to take up arms, since the royal 
authority was not strong enough to protect their lives 
and liberties. It is very important to notice where 
the religious scruple lay which had hitherto prevented 
them taking up arms. It was not the very earnest 
injunctions which our Lord gave His disciples against 
resisting their enemies, but the apparent support 
which St. Paul gave to the doctrine of passive ob- 

THE WAR OF 1563. 71 

edience. Moreover^ too^ the very thoroughness with 
which they had thrown off the old superstitions con- 
nected with papal and episcopal authority rendered 
thoughtful and prudent men more afraid than their 
Catholic forefathers to put themselves in open rebellion 
against the royal authority. 

At last the opposing forces approached each other. 
Conde's brother,, Navarre, and Coligny's uncle, Mont- 
morenci, were, with the Dake of Guise, the leaders 
of the Catholic forces. As usual, the war consisted 
of parleys, engagements, sieges. The Huguenots lost 
Bourges and Rouen, but at the siege of the latter 
city the King of Navarre was killed. At the battle 
of Dreux both sides lost a leader, Conde and Mont- 
morenci being taken prisoners. Finally, a Huguenot 
officer assassinated the Duke of Guise, and the war 
collapsed. Montmorenci and Conde were commis- 
sioned to arrange terms of peace, which, through the 
moral weakness of the latter, were very unfavourable 
for the Protestants (1563). 

The colloquy at Poissy had taught Catherine much. 
At one time she had thought the Calvinists would 
conquer, and accordingly had made arrangements for 
changing her religion and that of the king. But, find- 
ing that during the civil war the mass of the people 
remained faithful to the ancient religion, she came to 
the conclusion that it was safer to side with the 
Catholics. This, it became clear to her, was the policy 
she ought to take, when, by the deaths of Guise and 
Navarre, the Catholic party was without a head. 
Henceforth she took that position, and came to look 
on Coligny and Conde as her personal foes. In June, 
1565, Catherine had met the Duke of Alva at Bayonne, 
and the question they discussed was how to deal with 
Protestantism. Alva led the queen-mother from point 
to point, until he made her see that there was only one 


remedy^ and that was extirpation. He particularly 
insisted on tlie destruction of Coligny. ^ One salmon/ 
lie kept saying, ^is worth many frogs.' True to her 
cat-like nature, she gave so little sign of this change 
in her policy, that she still supported L^ Hospital as 
chancellor. His well-known devotion to justice and 
humanity served as a cover to the designs she began 
to entertain. 

The cause of corruption and tyranny was now 
greatly strengthened by the entry of the Jesuits into 
France, first under another name, and then opeuly. 
Their success was rapid; they soon had flourishing 
establishments at Lyons, Toulouse, and Bordeaux. 
But the religious character of the strife was greatly 
intensified by the accession, at the close of the year 
1565, of Pius v., the most fanatic of popes. To 
strengthen the Catholic cause in France, he despatched 
such military forces as his utmost efforts could com- 
mand, giving their leader the monstrous injunction to 
^ take no Huguenot prisoner, but instantly to kill 
every one that should fall into his hands.' 

On the other hand, the new life in Christendom 
surged and boiled like some active volcano. All 
things presaged a general eruption. It burst out in 
the Netherlands, and it was impossible that France 
should not feel the general upheaval. 


Killing or Being Killed. 

The change in the action of Coligny, in 15C7, is evi- 
dence of the great progress in the Reform movement. 
Instead of the fear and doubt with which he entere 1 
on the first war, he now proposed to raise the Cal- 
vinists G]i masBB, to attack and destroy the Swiss 


mercenaries, to arrest and drive out of France the 
Cardinal of Lorraine, to seize the king, and govern the 
country in his name (1567). 

The rising took Catherine by surprise, and she fled 
with the king to Meaux, and then fled back, pursued 
by the Huguenots, to Paris. They established them- 
selves at St. Denis, and demanded religious liberty 
without distinction of places or persons, equal admis- 
sion of the followers of both religions to all offices in 
the State, the reduction of the imposts, and the con- 
vocation of the States-General. 

The old Constable, Montmorenci, took the field 
against his nephews. All the reactionary forces in 
Paris joined to put down the Huguenots ; the city of 
Paris gave 400,000 livres, the prelates voted 250,000 
crowns in the name of the clergy, the crown pledged 
its diamonds at Venice for 100,000 crowns, its rubies 
at Florence for 100,000 more. 

A battle took place on the 10th of November at St. 
Denis, in which Coligny and Conde commanded the 
Huguenots, while Coligny's uncle and cousins led the 
royal troops. Conde charged with fury, and Mont- 
morenci was surrounded and killed. In the end 
the Huguenots had to retire. Their numbers were too 
small, and the gentlemen, of whom their army was 
mainly composed, were too independent, too unwilling 
to endure protracted fatigues. Coligny had in con- 
sequence to agree to a treaty, for the maintenance of 
which there was no guarantee. 

Peace was no sooner made than Catherine began to 
prepare for another war. The pope gave her permis- 
sion to alienate 50,000 crowns from the goods of the 
Church, the bull expressly stipulating that the money 
should be used for the extermination of the heretics. 

The Huguenot leaders were now seen flying from 
spot to spot. On one occasion, hurrying from Noyers 


to the other side of the Loire, they, and the large 
company of women and children with them, were in 
the greatest danger. The country was covered with 
troops, and they knew of no bridge or crossing-place 
which would not be blockaded. While wondering 
what they should do, one of their gentlemen came up 
and told them that, owing to the late drought, a ford 
existed, where they could cross. They pushed on, and 
by the aid of two or three little boats, in which they 
put the women and children, they got over. But no 
sooner were they safely landed than a sudden rise took 
place in the river, protecting them from their pursuers, 
who by this time were seen on the other side. But 
now the Loire overflowed its banks, and a boat could 
not cross without danger. Moved by a deliverance 
which seemed little less than a miracle, the fugitives 
fell on their knees and sang the 114tli Psalm, celebra- 
ting the passage of the R-ed Sea. 

L^Hospital being now dismissed, Catherine wrote to 
Philip II. that religious liberty had been revoked, and 
that there remained nothing to be done but to combine 
the military operations in France and the Netherlands. 
In September, 15G8, the Parliament of Paris forbade, 
under pain of death, the exercise of any religion other 
than the Catholic and Roman, and ordered all Protes- 
tant ministers to quit France in a fortnight. Another 
decree obliged all Protestants to resign any offices 
they held in the judicature or the finances, and com- 
pelled all members of Parliament or the universities 
to take an oath of allegiance to Catholicism. As the 
news spread the Protestants rose indignant, and the 
court heard with consternation that a rebellion raged 
through France. In three weeks the greater part of 
Poitou, Angoumois, and Saintonge were conquered by 
the Huguenot generals. The estuary of the Gironde 
was in their hands, and in the south-east the governors 


(From an ancient print.) 


of tlie various towns could do notliing to stop tlie 
popular rising. 

The Diike of Anjou, followed by the young Dakes 
of Guise and Montmorenci, and, advised by Tavannes, 
advanced against the Protestants, and at Jarnac de- 
feated Conde and Coligny. Conde was killed and his 
body infamously outraged by the despicable com- 
mander, who when he became Henry III. had Guise 
murdered and kicked the corpse. 

But the Hugaenot leaders did not lose heart. 
Jeanne d'Albret presented her son, afterwards Henry 
lY., and the young Conde to the army as those who 
would revenge the death of their general. 

Meanwhile Coligny, in whose hands the command 
was now concentrated, had been condemned by a 
decree of the Parliament of Paris, dated the 19th of 
March, 15G9, to be hanged and strangled in the Place de 
Greve, and then to be taken to Montfaucon, and there 
to be hanged in the highest place that could be found. 
If he could not be apprehended, then this was to be 
done to his efSgy. All his goods were declared con- 
fiscated to the king, his children ignoble, villeins, 
low-born, infamous, incapable of holding any office, 
dignity, or wealth in the kingdom. In fine, a reward 
was offered of 50,000 crowns for Coligny, dead or 


On the 3rd of October, 1569, the Huguenot army 
was beaten at Moncontour. It was a terrible disaster. 
Out of twenty-five thousand soldiers only six or eight 
thousand remained, the rest were slain or prisoners. 
Coligny was wounded in three places at the com- 
mencement of the action, and had to be carried off the 
field. The admiral, lying in his litter wounded, defeated, 
and hopeless if any man should be, suddenly saw 
the curtain lifted, and another wounded man look ni 
bis face, shining with the peace of heaven. ' SI est ce 


qiie D'leii est tres doux,'' ^ he says^ drops the veil, and 

sinks back on his litter. It was like an angel from 

heaven strengthening the hero in the darkest moment 
of his life. 



If we consider the sorb of world in which the French 
Reformed Churches arose, we shall not be surprised 
if, instead of the peaceful triumphs of Christian civili- 
zation, we read of scarcely anything but sieges and 
battles, popular risings, and cruel massacres. Nor 
must we expect to find the members of these Churches 
always stainless. Yesterday themselves Catholics, 
infected with the turbulent spirit of the times, edu- 
cated in the intolerant notions of the Middle Ages, 
with its gross inequalities and its rough notions of 
popular justice, we may deplore but cannot be sur- 
prised if that happened in France which always 
happens in religious wars. An exterminating and 
persecuting spirit had become part of the temperament 
of Roman Catholicism before Protestantism was born 
or dreamt of. It was only when the latter began to 
use ^ force,' the time-honoured weapon of the Roman 
Catholic Church, that Protestantism caught a similar 
spirit and fell occasionally into acts of terrorism. 

The massacre of the Protestants of Yassy, in 1561, 
inaugurated a series of massacres which, taken alto- 
gether, Michelet declares were more murderous than 
that of St. Bartholomew. It is said that between 

^ The opening line of the paraphrase of the seventy-third 

* Surely God is good to Israel, 
Even to such as are pure in heart.' 


1561-1562^ forty-eiglit persons died of fright, six were 
buried alive, twenty- three burnt, nine drowned, four 
hundred and forty-three hanged or shot, one hundred 
and seventeen women died of hunger and cold, forty- two 
children had their throats cut ; the pen refuses further 
details : . . . altogether one thousand three hun- 
dred victims. 

It was this terrible condition of things that brought 
about the first civil war. During the four years that 
followed the peace of 1568, the condition of the 
Protestants throughout France had been getting worse 
and worse. Their great and powerful enemies, the 
pope and the King of Spain, were urging their exter- 
mination; edicts were being sent out against them, 
forbidding them to make collections, to assemble 
synods, etc. ; the Duke of Alva had crossed the Alps, 
and was marching along the frontier, passing near to 
Geneva. Altogether the danger was so great that even 
Coligny made up his mind that the only thing to do 
was to seize the king, and govern in his name. It 
was at this juncture that a tumult in Nimes ended in 
a massacre of some jjriests, a deplorable act and a 
disgrace to the Huguenot cause. Unfortunately, we 
know its details only through Catholic historians, 
the Protestant chroniclers of the time having been 
ashamed to say anything about it. The pecuHar ex- 
citement in which the Huguenots were then living had 
in NiQies been worked up to a pitch by the fact that 
their Catholic governor had interfered in the annual 
election of the consuls, and although the Protestants 
were the more numerous and influential, had caused 
four Catholics to be elected. 

A slight circumstance put a spark to the tinder. 
It was the second day of the fair at Nimes, Michaelmas, 
1567. Some soldiers overturned the basket of one of 
the market women and kicked her vegetables into the 


air. The woman raised a cry_, and all tlie market was 
soon in tlie greatest confusion^ the disorder being in- 
creased by the ontcry made against the soldiers who^ 
to save themselves^ pnt their hands to their swords : 
' To arms ! kill the papists ! ^ It was the signal for an 

The first consul tried in vain to appease the tumult. 
The people, led by a military man^ rushed to the epis- 
copal palace; the bishop had. just time to get out at 
the back^ and was conducted by a Huguenot away from 
the town. Meanwhile the first consul was arrested, 
the bishop^s palace pillaged, the vicar-general killed, 
the cathedral sacked ; and^ if we are to believe Catholic 
historians of Provence and Languedoc, the insurgents 
threw a Franciscan monk and a number of priests 
down a well. This massacre is known in Nimois his- 
tory as the Michelade, because of the particular feast 
at which ifc occurred. 

Whether Christians are right, under any circum- 
stances, in taking up arms in defence of their faith, 
is a question which this history suggests, and which 
it can hardly fail to answer. Already the French 
Calvinists had met with defeat after defeat, already a 
very great number among them had come to a prema- 
ture and violent end, and already they had become, 
what was worst of all, demoralized. As the war con- 
tinued, their spiritual life declined, and a fierce bandit 
temper began to prevail. These things tried Coligny 
perhaps more than his defeats. With his own hands 
he chastised one of his captains whom he caught 
pillagiugj and to employ the wild energy of others, he 
sent a whole band into Brabant to assist the Nether- 
landers. But he had foreseen this result. When, 
during the first war, he had noticed that there was no 
swearing, no dice-playing, no pillaging in the Hugue- 
not camps, but constant prayer and psalm-siuging, he 


said, with a sad forecast of the demoralization war 
must surely bring, ^ Dejeune liermite y vieux diable." 

This demoralization of the Protestant laity had a 
serious influence on their ecclesiastical position. In 
the consistories, the provincial and the national 
synods, the laity had been originally well represented ; 
under the moral condition brought about by these 
wars, Beza and the Genevese authorities were in 
favour of shutting them out, and confining the rule of 
the Church to the ministers. But as this would have 
been impossible with regard to the powerful nobility 
at their head, as was shown in the national synod of 
1571, it is clear that if victory instead of defeat had 
crowned their efforts^ the Reformed Churches would 
have been handed over to clerical and aristocratic 

In the midst of all these difficulties, Coligny strug- 
gled on with the heroism of despair. A new army 
was got together in the south-eastern provinces. 
Moving to the north-west, Coligny crossed the Loire, 
defied the enemy near Arnay-le-Duc, and marched 
towards Paris. Meanwhile a powerful ally was coming 
to his aid. 

Charles IX. was one of the most unfortunate of 
princes. His birth, his temperament, his surroundings 
hurried him into a crime which loads him with infamy; 
but he was the best of his race, the only member of 
the whole Valois family with whom wo can feel the 
slightest sympathy, there was a touch of honesty, 
of generosity, of nobility about him which rendered 
liim more and more inexplicable to his mother, who 
felt him slipping out of her hands. Her favourite son 
was the infamous and dastardly Anjou, and the result 
of her proceedings had been to create in the king's 
mind a violent antipathy to his brother. The battles 
of Jarnac and Moncontour, at which Anjou nominally 


commanded^ had given him a false gloiy, for no one 
could be less of a hero than this effeminate prince. 
His very presence fretted the king^ who in his loneli- 
ness turned to the only man strong enough to help 
him, even to Coligny, at that moment an apparent 
rebel. This doubtless was the explanation of the 
treaty which the Protestants now obtained, by which 
liberty of conscience was conceded, and a certain 
measure of liberty of worship. Protestants were 
again eligible for the public service, and were to have 
those offices restored from which they had been 
ousted ; and as a guarantee four cities — La Rochelle, 
Montauban, Cognac, and La Charite — were to remain 
for two years in their hands. 



Thus to all appearance these terrible civil wars were 
happily concluded, and to seal the reconciliation a 
royal marriage was arranged between Henry of Navarre 
and the king's sister, Margaret. 

Invited to court, Coligny responded to the king's 
affectionate welcome with ardour, and thought of 
nothing but carrying out the grand idea of his life, 
which was to make France the head and centre of the 
Protestant movement. He soon induced the king to 
break with Spain, to look askance at Queen Elizabeth, 
and to support the patriots in the Netherlands. In 
this way he promised not only to enlarge France, but 
to give it colonies. 

Charles threw himself into Coligny's policy, and 
pushed on his sister's marriage with some violence. 
Catherine, Anjou, and their Italian set watched for 
some moment when they might turn the king against 


his new minister. But the heroic courage of Coligny 
in remaining at Paris surrounded by enemies who^he 
must have known were thirsting for his blood, main- 
tained the confidence of the king. A strong convic- 
tion that his whole course was predestined, and his 
life absolutely secure until the appointed moment, is 
tlie^ only explanation of the almost reckless way in 
which Coligny exposed himself. He went on his 
course totally regardless of his foes. 

To the Catholics this temper must have looked like 
domineering audacity, and they resolved to assassinate 
him without delay. 

Catherine and her 'most dear' Anjou accordingly 
confederated with the man who had been nurtured 
from childhood in the belief that Coligny had caused his 
father to be assassinated. The Duke of Guise under- 
took the murder of the admiral. If the Huguenots rose 
to revenge him, the populace of Paris would side with 
the Guise, and there would be a general melee, in which 
many of the queen-mother's enemies would be killed. 

The royal marriage took place on the 18th of August, 
1572. Four days after, as Coligny was returning from 
the Louvre to his lodging, he was fired at from a house 
in the cloister of St. Germain FAuxerrois. The index 
finger of his right hand was taken off, and the shot 
lodged in his left arm. 

Charles was playing at tennis with Guise and 
Teligny, Coligny's son-in-law, when the news was 
brought him. 'Am I never to have peace?' he 
exclaimed. He went to see the admiral, his mother 
and his brother followed him. The wounded man 
asked to see the king alone. Catherine cut the inter- 
view short, and in the coach as they were returning 
pressed Charles to tell her what Coligny had said. 
' He told me to beware of you,' he replied, in a worried, 
angry manner. 


Catlierlne saw that there was uo time to lose, the 
blow had failed, the Huguenots would be alarmed and 
on their guard. She called together her fellow con- 
spirators, and they determined that the king must be 
induced to consent to the destruction of Coligny forth- 
with. They went to the king's cabinet and affirmed 
one after the other that tlie Huguenots were arming 
against him in defence of the admiral. Excited and 
worried, Charles seemed to believe what they said, but 
resolutely refused to listen to any proposal against 
Coligny. The conspirators felt themselves losing 
ground, especially as one of their number, the Marshal 
de Retz, began to falter, and to say that to put the 
admiral out of the way would be perfidious and 
disloyal. However, no one seconding him, the rest 
picked up their courage and combated his doubts with 
energy. And they conquered, for all at once ^ w^e 
recognised,^ said the Duke of Anjou, long afterwards, 
in a moment of repentance, ^ a sudden change and a 
strange metamorphose in the king, who ranged him- 
self on our side and embraced our opinion, going much 
farther and more criminally, so that he who had been 
persuaded with difficulty it was now difficult to 
restrain, for rising up and commanding silence, he, 
with fury and anger, in swearing by the dear God, 
said to us, '^ Since you find it good to kill the admiral, 
let it not only be done, but at the same time all the 
Huguenots in France, in order that there may be none 
to reproach us, and let the order be given at once ! '^ 
And going out furiously he left us in his cabinet, where 
we held a consultation during the rest of the day and 
during a good part of the night as to the best means 
of carrying out the project.' 



The Murder op Coligny. 

On the niglit before the massacre of August the 24th, 
1572, the admirals daughter Louise, with her husband 
Teiigny, did not wish to quit their father, but he 
begged them to go and take a little repose. As day 
began to break. Guise, D^Aumale, and the bastard of 
Angouleme made their way to Coligny^s hotel. One 
of their number knocked at the door ; the man who 
kept the keys came to open it, when he was at once 
thrown down and poignarded. The arquebusiers that 
Guise had brought immediately threw themselves on 
the Swiss who were guarding the hotel, but who after 
a struggle succeeded in barricading the door of the 

Coligny, hearing the noise, thought there was a 
popular outbreak in the neighbourhood of the hotel. 
He rose from his bed and put on a dressing-gown. 
But the shots which struck the window told that it 
was an attack on the hotel itself. He asked a minister 
present to offer prayer, and he himself invoked Jesus 
Christ, his God and Saviour, commending himself into 
His hands. 

Suddenly, one of his servants rushed into the room, 
and addressing Coligny said : ' God has called us to 
Himself, my lord; the hotel is forced, resistance is 
impossible ! ^ 

The admiral quietly answered : ^ It is a long time 
since I have been ready to die ; save yourselves if it be 
possible, for you cannot preserve my life. I recom- 
mend my soul to the grace of God.'' All fled, one 
servant alone, Nicolas Muss, refused to go. 

The murderers soon burst into the room ; the first 
was a servant of Guise, named Behme. ^ Are you the 


admiral ? ' he said^ poiutiug a sword at Coligny's 

'YeSj I ara he/ replied the victim; ^you ought 
to respect old age and my infirmity, but you cannot 
make my life more brief/ 

Behme with an oath plunged his sword into the 
admiraFs breast, and then struck him several blows 
on the head, the others then severally gave a blow, and 
Coligny fell to the ground. 

' Have you finished ? ' a voice cried from the bottom 
of the court. 

' It is done,^ replied the assassins. 

' Then throw him out of the window,^ said the Duke 
of Guise; Hhey can't believe it unless they see it with 
their own eyes/ 

The murderers lifted the body ; there was life in it 
yet, for it made an eS'ort to get out of their hands. 
They threw it on the pavement, and it was only then 
Coligny gave his last sigh. 

Guise took a pocket-handkerchief and wiped the 
face. 'Yes, it is he ; I recognise him.'' And striking 
the venerable head with the heel of his boot, he sprang 
on his horse and rode away, saying, ' Courage, sol- 
diers ; we have begun happily, now let us go after the 


The Massacre of St. Bartholomew. 

* How often had I predicted it ! how often did I warn 
them it was coming ! ' Catherine de Medici might 
have mockingly taken up Beza's querulous lament and 
have repeated, ' What warnings I gave them of it ! ' 

The betrothal on the 17th of August produced an 
explosion; the preachers foamed, the anger of God 

if" '^ 

11 !\'^^^ 













was about to fall, there would be torrents of blood. 
The weddings took place on the 18th, and for four 
days, or rather nights, the court madly danced or 
played the buffoon. One night they acted in mas- 
querade an Italian play, The Mystery of the Three 
Worlds. Paradise filled with nymphs was attacked by 
the two young Protestant princes, and defended by 
the king and his brothers, who, at the pikers point 
drove the assailants off to the shores of hell, where the 
devils kept them imprisoned for a whole hour while 
their conquerors danced with the nymphs. Then the 
combat recommenced, explosions of gunpowder took 
place on all sides, the smoke and sulphurous stench 
putting the whole company to flight. 

Thus the cat played with the mice, almost telling 
its victims the fate intended for them. This tenebrous 
play was acted between the 18th and the 21st. On 
the 22nd, the first attempt to assassinate Coligny was 
made. The Protestant princes and gentlemen swore 
among themselves to avenge the admiral. The news 
spread through Paris that the furious Huguenots were 
going to cut the throat of the favourite, the Duke of 
Guise. On Saturday the king was driven into consent- 
ing to the massacre. The order was given to Guise 
by Catherine and Anjou at 11 p.m., and at midnight 
the city was called upon to arm. Four hours were 
thus occupied, but by the break of day Coligny was 
killed. Then came a moment of hesitation. Catherine 
and Anjou, satisfied with the death of their great 
enemy, would have drawn back, but it was too late. 
Guise and the Paris Catholics were not to be defrauded. 
The slaughter commenced in the Tuileries. The gay 
young bridegrooms, offered their choice of the mass 
or death, accepted the former; their followers were 
slaughtered. Hunted from room to room, forced by 
the royal archers down the stairs of the palace, they 


were driven at last like a flock of sheep into the court- 
yard of the Louvre. Here they were murdered under 
the eyes of the king, who either came or was dragged 
to the window. These men, his guests, made him 
pathetic appeals. One of them, the hero of Saint- 
Jean-d^Angely, claimed the performance of his promise 
in a voice so terrible that the very court seemed to shake. 

The king^s brain gave way, he evidently went mad ; 
a number of Huguenots from the quartier St. Germain 
coming to the Louvre for protection were fired upon. 
The king, who was at the window, saw them turn. 
' They fly ! they fly ! ^ he exclaimed. ' Give me an 
arquebuse.' And takiug a gun this poor king, torn by 
a legion of devils, fired on his own people ! 

Far from approving the massacre, the authorities at 
the Hotel de Yille sent to the kiug begging him to 
prevent his household, his princes, and his servants 
from going on killing and j)illaging. The king im- 
mediately sent an order to stop all. But it was too 
late; all the bad passions in the city were let loose. 
Thus a great number of tradesmen fell victims to the 
unparalleled opportunity of getting rid of competitors 
without fear of the consequences. The Parisian Pro- 
testants were for the most part shoemakers, book- 
sellers, binders, hatters, weavers, pin-makers, barbers, 
armourers, dealers in second-hand clothes, coopers, 
watchmakers, jewellers, carpenters, gilders, button- 
makers, ironmongers. However, the lists of the miss- 
ing on this terrible occasion show how Calvinism had 
drawn into its ranks the most illustrious artists in 
France. Jean Goujon (1515-1572), one of the greatest 
sculptors France has produced, came, on St. Bartholo- 
mew's day, to his end. Tradition says he was shot 
while at work on a scaffold in the Louvre. Claude 
Goudimel (1510-1572) was among the victims at 
Lyons. He was one of the first musicians of his time 


and did a great work in setting the Huguenot psalter 
to music. 

After such a Sunday's work as that of the 24th of 
August, 1572, the murderers were somewhat fatigued; 
besides, both the city and royal authorities said stop. 
Not so the religious bigots. Suddenly the bells were 
heard ringing from church to church. It was the tocsin, 
that appeal to popular fury so common in the free cities 
of Flanders and Italy. The massacre re-opened with 
a new and peculiar atrocity. Neighbours killed neigh- 
bours, women with child were ripped open, fathers 
were slaughtered with their little ones hanging to 
their knees, infants were seized by the neck and 
thrown like blind kittens into the river ; the Seine, in 
fact, was the grand receptacle for the dead. The air 
was full of frightful cries, sudden shrieks, pistol shots, 
bursting of doors, the howling of the mob as they 
dragged a corpse to the river. 

This was the fate of the illustrious Ramus, who was 
only put to death on the third day of the massacre, the 
26th of August. Paid assassins forced the College of 
Prasles, and found him in his study on the fifth floor. 
They hardly allowed him a moment of prayer before 
they fired on him and ran him through with a sword. 
Then they threw him out of window into the court 
below, and dragged the body by a cord to the river. 
There it is said to have been decapitated, and, after 
floating in the river, dragged to the shore, where it 
lay exposed to every indignity. 

Seeing the popularity of the massacre, the king was 
now induced to claim all its credit; so, on the 26th, 
he went down to the Parliament, and said, ' It was I 
who ordered the massacre.' Upon this adventurers, 
more or less authorized, departed for the provinces, 
where in the various cities they constituted themselves 
directors of systematic murder and pillage. The 


Protestants were tlirowu into prison^ then massacred. 
In some places the local authorities superintended ; 
generally they stood aside ; sometimes they resisted. 

While there can be no doubt that this massacre was 
exactly what the leaders of the Catholic party in 
Europe had desired for years, it would be unjust to 
hold the great bulk of the French clergy and laity 
responsible. The Bishop of Lisieux absolutely re- 
fused to permit a massacre of Huguenots in his 
diocese, and gave the king's lieuteuant a written dis- 
charge to that effect. The Catholics on the banks of 
the Rhone shuddered to see the river blotted with 
corpses, and cried to God against the assassins. 

On the other hand, the Parliament of Paris, the 
representative of law, but not of justice, established a 
fete in honour of the holy work done on this blessed 
day of Saint Barthelmy. Moreover, they found 
Coliguy the guilty cause of it all, and condemned 
him to be dragged through the mire and hanged. 
His effigy was suspended on the Place de Greve, while 
his scorched, mutilated remains were hanged in a 
ludicrous position at Montfaugon. The king and the 
court went there to mock and ridicule. They had the 
incredible inhumanity to take Coligny's two sons to 
look at their father's corpse. The elder began to sob, 
but the youDger gazed steadily. Perhaps he dimly 
foresaw what after ages admit, viz. that Coliguy is 
one of the noblest figures in the whole history of 


After St. Bartholomew. 

Henry IV. often related to his most intimate friends 
that eight days after the massacre a number of ravens 


gatlierecl about tlie flag on the Louvre. Their noise 
brought every one to look at them, and the women 
communicated their fright to the king. That same 
nighty two hours after going to bed, Charles IX. 
sprang up, had the people of his chamber called, and 
among others his brother-in-law, that they might hear 
a tremendous noise in the air, a concert of voices^ 
screaming, groaning, howling, just like that heard on 
the night of the massacre. These sounds were so 
distinct that the king, believing some fresh disorder 
had broken out, sent his guards through the city to 
prevent murder. But having brought back word that 
the city was in peace, and the air only troubled, he 
also remained troubled, principally because the noise 
continued for seven days at the same hour. 

These sights and sounds, which, in the midst of a 
court the dupes of sorcerers and astrologers, a guilty 
conscience imagined, were a real and awful foreboding 
of judgment to come. The Louvre and the represen- 
tatives of Charles IX. and his court would surely see 
it realized. For a time, however, Charles was in a 
full tide of glory. The pope chanted the Tc Deum, 
and sent him the golden rose. Two months after the 
massacre, Queen Elizabeth stood godmother to his 
infant daughter; six months later on, William of 
Orange recognised him as Protector of Holland, and 
king of whatever he could conquer in the Low 
Countries, the Taciturn's brother, Louis of Nassau, 
working to make him Emperor of Germany and his 
brother King of Poland. But what seemed most of 
all to cover him with glory was the visible jealousy of 
Philip XL and the Duke of Alva. They were enraged 
to think that beside Charles they appeared feeble and 
vacillating. Yet the King of Prance was to the last 
degree wretched and miserable. His face had become 
pale and haggard, his eyes jaundiced and menacing; 


lie talked constantly of killing. To distract his melan- 
choly, lie had parties of pleasure at the places of 
public execution, and spent his nights in riots. A 
year of this life, and he was in his grave, glad on his 
own account, as well as for France, that he left no 
posterity. For the state of the country soon assured 
him that, however much he might have frightened 
foreigners by the apparent strength of the blow, 
his own people were for ever alienated. One of the 
first results was that the Protestants in self-defence 
began to form themselves into a distinct political 

A number of pastors and gentlemen met at Mon- 
taubau, and drew up the plan of a confederation. 
Each Protestant city was to name a council of a 
hundred persons, without distinction of class, to direct 
all their affairs: justice, police, taxation, and war; 
and these councils were to elect a general head. 
Moderation and gentleness were to be shown towards 
pacific Catholics, but those in arms were to be treated 
with the utmost rigour. The Duke of Alva^s recipe, 
* A good salmon is worth a hundred frogs,' showed his 
ignorance of the genius of the Reformation. Appeal- 
ing to the individual conscience, it made men ; the 
little became great. 

Nothing could exceed the bravery shov/ii at the 
siege of Sancerre. Rather than submit, the beleaguered 
citizens ate slugs, moles, bread made of ground straw 
and crushed slate; they cooked the harness of their 
horses, and even old parchments. At La Rochelle 
the courage of the besieged was remarkable even in 
that age of marvellous endurance. At low water, 
women and ministers, and even children, might be 
seen in the water under fire trying to set light to the 
royal vessels. Under their brave on aire, Jacques 
Henri, they refused to submit, and finally preserved 


the city, as a sort of Protestant republic, in the 
face of the Catholic monarchy. These brave and 
successful defences so inspired the Protestants that 
they met in confederation at Montauban in 1573, and 
demanded all that had been accorded by the treaty 
of 1570. 

Meanwhile new maxims on law and political liberty 
were gaining ground among Catholics, and a political 
party, under the Duke of Alencon, was formed, with 
which the Huguenots, in December, 1573, formed a 
league. This alliance proved full of difficulties. The 
religious Calvinists, mostly tradesmen, regarding 
religious objects as of the first importance, were slow 
to fight, but when they began, did not wish to lay 
down their arms until the end was attained. The 
political malcontents, mainly noblemen, were ready to 
take up arms on the first occasion, and equally ready 
to sacrifice religious objects to political ones. How- 
ever, the alliance was so powerful, that, to dissolve it, 
the court offered both parties favourable terms. To 
the Protestants, free exercise of religion all over the 
kingdom, Paris alone excepted ; admission to public 
employment ; mixed chambers in the parliaments, 
securing equal justice; eight places of safety; right 
of opening schools and convoking synods ; rehabilita- 
tion of the memory of Coligny ; and re-establishment 
of Navarre and Conde in their rights. 

The treaty, signed at Chastenoy, May 6th, 1576, 
gave great umbrage to the Catholic portion of the 
nation. In the States- General held in that year, the 
three orders demanded that all Protestants, ministers, 
deacons, overseers, and schoolmasters, should be com- 
pelled to quit the kingdom, or be made guilty of a 
capital offence. France was distinctly divided into 
two nations. 



New Dangers. 

The Huguenots again took up arms, the religious 
party among tliem being by far the most determined. 
The Huguenot lords, although besought by Beza to 
lay their heads on the block rather than allow the 
Word of God to be limited, would not listen to the 
consistories,' but signed a peace in September, 1577, 
by which the exercise of the Reformed religion was 
restricted to certain places, and all Protestants excluded 
from public employ. 

The levity of the nobles was all through these 
strusfo-les the weak element in the Protestant cause. 
Dominating it by their position, they yielded at the 
least seduction or at any unusual fatigue. During 
forty years among all the Protestant martyrs only 
three noblemen are found. And yet under Henry II. 
they had joined the canse of Reform in crowds. It 
passes all belief that within six years of the Massacre 
of St. Bartholomew, Catherine de Medici should have 
been able to visit, accompanied by her flying squadron 
of fallen women, the Protestant court of the King of 
Navarre, and that Iluofuenot lords and Catholic courte- 
sans should have carried on the hypocritical farce of 
conversing together in ^ the language of Canaan.'* But 
Henry of Navarre was a type of the noblemen who 
were Protestants because they were turbulent and 
ambitious, and who, either personally or by their im- 
mediate descendants, fell away directly it served their 

Unhappy Protestant people of France, led by such 
careless worldlings, and that in the face of ever- 
increasing danger ! The great conspirator of Europe 
was not dead, and that vast plot of which all the 


strings ended in Madrid was ever taking new forms. 
In France it now appeared as the Holy League. The 
Duke of Guise, the murderer of Coligny, was its 
leader, and its object was to put down the Eeformed 
Religion by terror and place him on the throne of 
France. Le Balafre, as he was endearingly called in 
Paris, played the part of Absalom, and grew in popu- 
larity just in the degree that the Duke of Anjou, now 
Henry III., declined. To outbid this formidable rival 
the king himself signed the articles of the League, and 
burnt some women in Paris. But it was of no use. 
Le Balafre was carried in triumph to the Louvre, and 
openly spoken of as the king of Paris. Henry III. 
grew desperate, and had him assassinated, kicking his 
corpse, just as he had kicked that of Coligny. Twelve 
days after Catherine de Medici died, and Henry III., 
abhorred by all his Catholic subjects, was forced to 
make friends with the Huguenots. 

The last of the Valois, it was clear that the crown 
would devolve on the Protestant King of Navarre, and 
to prepare the way that politic prince issued an appeal 
to the Catholics. 

The League revenged the murder of the Duke of 
Guise. Within eight months Henry III. was assassin- 
ated in his turn. Nearly every one of the criminals 
of St. Bartholomew came to a miserable end. 


The Edict of Nantes, 

Henry of Navarre was now the only possible King of 
France, but the Catholic nobility refused allegiance 
unless he abjured Protestantism. For decency's sake 
he asked for six months' delay, during which time he 
would consent to instruction in the Catholic religion. 



To hvm^ him rapidly to decision^ all liis Catholic fol- 
lowers deserted. On the 25tli of July^ 1593, he con- 
verted himself, to translate literally French idiom, here 
strictly applicable. Never did any action appear more 
worldly-wise, never was any followed by more disastrous 
consequences. It was the first step in the ruin of the 
house of Bourbon and of the French monarchy, and, 
infinitely more to be deplored, of the religious sentiment 
in myriads of sincere minds. 

The Protestants at once learnt that in the affairs of 
the kingdom of heaven worldly success means ruin. 
Their own leader King of France, he at once agreed 
to the demands made by the dominant party in Rouen, 
Meaux, Poitiers, Agen, Beauvais, Amiens, St. Malo, 
and Paris, that no Huguenot preaching should take 
place within their walls, but must be confined to the 

To allay the discontent of his late co-religionists, 
the king tacitly consented to their holding political 
assemblies. For this purpose France was divided into 
ten districts, each of which named a deputy to the 
general council, which, whatever its numbers, was 
composed two-fifths of gentlemen, two-fifths com- 
moners, one-fifth pastors; that is, three-fifths men of 
the third estate. Below this general council were 
provincial councils, composed of from five to seven 
members, of which one must be the governor of a 
fortress, and one a pastor. 

The deputies took an oath of obedience, and it was 
obligatory on the members of the Churches to respect 
the decisions of the councils. A permanent fund of 
4,500 crowns was contributed by the faithful. The 
council-general received reports and complaints from 
the provincial councils, and communicated them to the 

In 1597 the Reformed Churches complained that 


tliroughoufc entire provinces^ Burgundy and Picardy 
for example, tliere was no free exercise of religion; 
that in Brittany tliey liad but one place of worship, 
in Provence only two ; that their members were mal- 
treated, stoned, thrown into the river ; that assemblies 
were fired upon with cannon ; that Bibles were burnt ; 
that consolation to the sick was forbidden; that children 
were carried off or baptized forcibly by priests accom- 
panied by the police ; that hostage cities were taken 
away or dismantled ; that their poor were neglected, 
even where Protestants gave most to the common 
purse; that they were systematically excluded from 
office, even from the magistracy of the cities ; that 
there was no justice before the tribunals; that they 
were made to pay enormous fines and subjected to 
imprisonment on the least pretext; that their dead, 
even those buried in the chapels of their ancestors, 
were shamefully exhumed — their complaints, in fact, 
fill a volume. 

Such was the condition of the French Protestants, 
after three-quarters of a century, during which they 
had passed through four civil wars. But they had 
appealed to force, and by its decision they had to 
abide. As to Henry, he was a thorough man of the 
world. He had great objects, and his rule was bene- 
ficent. But the Protestants would have failed to 
secure the advantages they had obtained, even under 
Charles IX. and Henry III., had they not had these 
political assemblies. Five were held between 1595 
and 1597; their pertinacity and threatening attitude, 
coupled with the fact that he was closely pressed by 
the Spanish arms, compelled Henry to consent at last 
to their demands. Finally, after long and laborious 
negotiations, they obtained in April, 1598, the Edict 
of Nantes. By its provisions full liberty of the indi- 
vidual conscience was guaranteed, public worship was 


permitted in all places where it was established in 
1597, and in the suburbs of all cities; lords high 
justices could have it celebrated in their mansions ; 
gentlemen of the second degree were permitted to 
receive thirty persons to private worship. All the 
public offices were opened to Protestants, the schools 
to their children, the hospitals to their sick, the right 
to print books was accorded, of mixed chambers in 
some of the parliaments, and a special chamber of the 
edict was established in Paris, composed, however, 
with one exception, entirely of Catholics. 

Thus, after three-quarters of a century, during 
which they had maintained a series of great wars, in 
which they had lost, including those who had been 
massacred, or put to death at the stake or on the 
gallows, five hundred thousand of their co-religionists, 
the Protestants only obtained permission to exist and 
to share in the civil privileges of their countrymen, 
and this under a king who was one of their own people. 
But what could the Reformed Churches do with such 
a man ? He belonged to another sphere, a totally 
different order of things. 

Agrippa d^Aubigne, whose severe and inflexible 
character often embroiled him with the court, tells 
how, having heard that Henry had threatened to kill 
him, should he fall into his hands, he went immediately 
to the lodging of the king's mistress, Gabrielle d'Es- 
trees, and when the royal carriage arrived, presented 
himself among the flambeaux. 'Here,' said the king, 
'is Monseignetiv d'Aubigne,' a very ill-omened title. 
However, D'Aubigne advanced, and the king not only 
embraced him, but told Gabrielle to kiss him, and 
then ordered him to give her his hand. He led the 
lady to her apartment, where the king walked about 
talking to him for two hours. In the course of the 
conversation, Henry showed his visitor the cut he had 


received shortly before from a young pupil of the 
Jesuits, who had tried to assassinate him. ^ Sire/ said 
the austere Calvinist, ' having only renounced God 
with your lips, He has only pierced your lips. If you 
renounce Him with your heart, He will pierce you to 
the heart. ^ ^ Very fine words/ said Gabrielle, ' but not 
well employed!^ ^True, madame/ replied D^Aubigne, 
'for they will be of no use.' The king, apparently 
unaffected, sent for his infant child, and put it, quite 
naked, into the stern old Calvinist's arms. What 
could D'Aubigne reply to such an argument ? The king 
belonged to one world, he to another. The one repre- 
sented Nature, the other Grace. 




Prosperous but Declining. 

At no period in French history, from the clays of 
Henry II. to those of Louis XVI., did the French 
Protestants come so near the Hebrew ideal of well- 
being as during the twelve years of Henry the Fourths 
reign. After the Edict of Nantes their legal position 
was assured, and though still subject to occasional 
insult and injury, it might be said with some show of 
truth that during this short period they sat 'every 
man under his vine and under his fig tree, none daring 
to make them afraid.-* 

In such circumstances it was natural that they 
should prosper. Their industry, thrift, and intelli- 
gence, energised by religious faith, and sharpened by 
a long-continued struggle for existence, together with 
their sense of mutual dependence as members of a 
persecuted party, were exactly the conditions which 
must lead to the acquisition of wealth. 

Abraham Bosse, whose clever graver has preserved 
for us the character, costume, and manners of the 
Louis-Treize period, has a large and fine series por- 



traying ' Married Life/ The class he depicts are the 
wealthy bourgeoisie, the class to which the Huguenots 
largely belonged ; and as Abraham Bosse was himself 
a Protestant, and this work a series of faithful delinea- 
tions, it is fair to conclude that they are largely 
drawn from the life by which the artist was surrounded. 
The impression of material comfort they give is exactly 
that produced by other Protestant artists of the time, 
especially by those of the Netherlands. 

In these engravings we see spacious parlours with 
pictures and instruments of music, large and well- 
furnished bedrooms ; a kitchen-scene shows the ovens 
filled with the comestibles. In one engraving a 
numerous party of ladies are enjoying a good dinner 
in a bedroom, in celebration of the recovery of one of 
their number from the perils of child-birth. When 
the engraver gives us a glimpse into the farmyard, or 
any figures of the peasantry, it is in the same style. 
Abundauce is characteristic. All seem well-to-do, 
some incline to be jovial. Compare this with what the 
monuments of the time tell us about the general condi- 
tion of the French peasantry, and the diflference is so 
amazing that we can but conclude that this Protestant 
engraver was at least brought up, if he did not con- 
tinue to live, in a Land of Goshen. 

Instead of the crossing of swords, there was contro- 
versial warfare. The poorest Calvinist was a match for 
most of the Catholic clergy, while a public disputation 
or a caustic pamphlet was the chief weapon of the 
accomplished layman or minister. Duplessis-Mornay, 
whose exalted station, inflexible integrity, and great 
learning had won for him such a position that he was 
called the pope of the Calvinists, believed to such a 
degree in the power of argument, that he thought a 
controversy, after the precedent of the colloquy at 
Poissy, might convince Henry of Navarre that he 


ought not to enter the Roman Catholic Church. The 
king encouraged the delusion at that time ; but when, 
in 1600, Duplessis-Mornay demanded a public contro- 
versy with Cardinal Duperron as to what the Fathers 
had said about the doctrine of transubstantiation, 
Henry took care it should be fruitless. For the pope 
specially interested himself in it ; and Henry, who 
wanted his sanction to a divorce from Marguerite de 
Valois, was determined Urban IV. should not be 
vexed by a Protestant victory. 

• In one of the first of his domestic scenes, Bosse 
represents a group of elders seated round a table 
absorbed in a grave discussion. Three are venerable- 
looking men in tall hats and long beards, two ladies 
dignified and somewhat severe. In another part of 
the room an evil-looking man makes love to the 
daughter of the house, and one of the little ones is 
frightening another with a great mask. Who can 
doubt that the artist has here attempted to depict a 
typical case ? 

For this passion for controversy was not confined to 
disputes with Catholics; we may be sure that still 
more bitter debates went on between the two great 
theological parties into which Protestantism was 
divided. On the one hand there were the Arminians, 
who represented moderate Calvinism, and the Go- 
marists, who held the extreme view on the other. 
There were also the political divisions into which the 
Huguenot party was divided, a division existing from 
these times until the Revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, broadly expressed by the words moderate and 
zealous, or, as the more thorough going Calvinist would 
have said, ^ lukewarm and zealous.'' 



Facilis Descensus Aveeni. 

Henry IV. being very ill sent for Agrippa d^Aubigne. 
After he had closed the door, and had twice knelt 
down and prayed, he adjured D'Aubigne to tell him 
if he had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. 
D^Aubigne proposed four tests by which the king 
might try his conscience. The conversation, we are 
told, lasted four hours and was intermingled with 
frequent prayer. 

Perhaps Henry was able to assure himself that he 
was moved to abjure Protestantism more by the hope 
of healing the wounds of his country than by a desire 
to grasp the crown of France; but his example had 
a fatal effect on the younger Huguenot nobles, who 
naturally concluded that the way to rise in life was 
to walk in the footprints of their royal master. In 
fact, Henry^s example had made respectable that 
worldliness which previously had worn the cloak of 
conformity. The old Protestant historians divided the 
Calvinisfcs at the opening of the reign of Louis XIII. 
into four classes : the ambitious, the zealous, the judi- 
cious, and the timid ; and for the first and last classes, 
which it is according to human nature to suppose were 
far the more numerous, there was no easier course 
than to follow so illustrious an example as that of the 
most popular monarch that ever sat on the French 

The chances of defection from the Eeformed Church 
were infinitely increased by all the tendencies of French 
civilization during the first half of the seventeenth 
century, which were entirely opposed to that harsh 
manner of feeling and acting and speaking which 
sometimes characterized Calvinism. An extreme re- 


jSnement was cultivated in certain high circles. Grace 
in deportment, elegance in dress_, a poetic phraseology/ 
a punctilious code of honour, became prevalent fashions. 
Duelling was quite the rage. Readers of English his- 
tory know how it alarmed James I. ; a much stronger 
man, Cardinal Richelieu, tried to put it down in France, 
but was completely defeated, the tide being too strong. 


The Counter-Refoemation in Feance. 

Such a time was propitious for the advance of Jesuitism, 
but very disheartening to those holding a creed serious 
and profound as was that of Calviu. Henry IV. had 
permitted the society to re-enter France ; it did more 
perhaps by its general influence than by the direct 
action of any of its leading members. It had leavened 
the whole of the Catholic world ; it was the soul of the 
counter-Reformation, which at this time was nearly 
everywhere victorious. In Germany and in the 

1 Shakespeare has satirised the affectation of refinement 
then becoming the fashion in his play entitled Love's Labour 
Lost. The scene is laid in France, and the King of Navarre 

says : 

' Onr court, you know, is haunted 
With a refined traveller of Spain ; 
A man in all the world's new fashion planted, 

That hath a mint of phrases in his brain ; 
One whom the music of his own vain tongue 

Doth ravish like enchanting harmony ; 
A man of complements, whom right and wrong 
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.' 

Act. i. So. 1. 

As this play was first published in 1598, it is clear this sorb 
of fashion had come into vogue during Henry the Third's 


Netherlands, tlie very countries which had taken the 
lead in the Reformation, all the world were hastening 
to declare themselves Catholic. The tremendous re- 
action was enough to fill the most courageous with 

And now appeared a man exactly suited to the 
times : a man gentle, cultured, earnest, serious^ and 
sweet, but who nevertheless prepared the way for the 
Jesuits and the Dragonnades; for no one can work 
for a cause without really strengthening its main 
currents, and that in the very degree of his personal 

It was just two years before the Gunpowder Plot 
that Francois de Sales came to Paris and preached 
with great success in the court of Henry IV. A man 
of birth, a practised lawyer of the most amiable temper, 
moderate in all things, Francois de Sales advocated a 
reasonable and a practical piety. So far from teaching 
asceticism, provided the heart was humble and devout, 
he permitted considerable conformity to the world in 
action and demeanour, and did not require great 
demonstrations of religious fervour. With his gentle, 
persuasive voice, his mild, winning words, his moderate 
and orthodox mysticism, his grace, courtesy, and tole- 
rance, he was exactly the preacher to please a people 
worn out by the acrid debates and furious struggles 
of its two intense and austere creeds. Everybody was 
delighted, especially the ladies. In 1608 he published 
his most famous work, Tia Vie Devote. The success 
was enormous. Edition after edition appeared, some 
got up in a style peculiarly winning and attractive, all 
the text being in running hand, with flourished and 
caligraphic love-knots. The reader could scarcely fail 
to be struck with the moderate and reasonable tone 
of the book, and the acquaintance the author seems 
to have with all the difficulties of life. Everything is 

*'tA VIE devote:' 



dwelt upon in a briei\ complete_, and interesting man- 
ner. The doctrine i^ entirely and wholly Catholic^ 
according to the teaoiing of the Council of Trent. 
There is not the slightest taint in it of the evangelical 
creed. At the same time there is no passing note of 
controversy: the gospel, as understood by Luther, 
Calvin, and all the Reformers, is not denied, it is 
simply ignored. Nowhere is this leaving out of every 
characteristic note of Protestantism more manifest 
than in the chapter on the Word of God. The devotee 
is admonished to hear and read the Word of God 
as spoken to him and to his friends, and as read in 
books of devotion and the lives of the saints, but 
his instructor carefully abstains from mentioning the 

The methods are strictly Catholic, and consist of the 
sacrament of penance, meditation, and prayer. The 
imagination has to be cultivated. All, however, is 
moderate, sweet, tasteful, gentle. Thus he concludes his 
chapters on meditation with such injunctions 8jS,Faites 
le petit bouquet de devotion, or, Faites le petit bouquet 
spirituel, by which he alludes to a pretty conceit, in 
which he supposes the meditation has been like a 
morning walk in a beautiful garden, which you are 
loth to leave without making a bouquet of four or 
five of the most lovely flowers, in order that their 
fragrance and beautiful forms may remind you of the 
refreshing scenes with which you commenced the day. 
Finally, the bishop is careful to tell you that from the 
very outset it is necessary to have a director, and that 
the great means of acquiring perfection are obedience, 
chastity, poverty. Nor can we doubt that he would 
have said, in accordance with all the teachers of his 
school, ^ And the greatest of these is obedience.^ 

With the aid of the excellent Madame de Chantal 
he founded the Order of the Visitation, one of those 


associations in wliich holiness wtis souglit through a 
life of practical benevolence. 

With this idea no one Jias m<^'e identified his name 
than the friend of the Bishop of Gene va^ Vincent de 
Paul. Refusing all wealth and honours^ he devoted 
himself to the immense crowd of wretched beings 
which the disastrous civil wars had made more than 
usually numerous. He founded the Brothers and 
Sisters of Charity, he interested himself in the welfare 
of criminals and galley-slaves, found leisure for innu- 
merable missions, made efforts to reform the morals 
of the clergy, and did his utmost to get virtuous 
prelates appointed. Men thought of him as a loving 
old man, his arms filled with infants, whom he- had 
picked up in his solitary walks through the dark 
streets of Paris in the dead hours of the night. 

In company with these two appears a third — 
Pierre de Berulle, the reformer both of the monastic 
orders and the secular clergy. For the first, his 
model was St. Theresa; for the second, St. Philip 
Neri. Pierre de Berulle was a man, like De Sales, 
of a singularly sweet manner and an address tender 
and persuasive. ^ If you want,^ said Cardinal Duper- 
ron, • to convince a heretic, bring him to me ; if you 
want to convert him, take him to M. de Geneve (Fran- 
cois de Sales) j ^ and if j^ou want both to convince and 
convert him, let him go to M. de Berulle.'' 

What could the Calvinists do in the presence of 
such fascinating influences ? Their austere creed, and 
the exclusiveness that resulted from it, was no match 
for the practical piety, rational, moderate, and per- 
fectly orthodox, inculcated by Francois de Sales ; still 

^ The pope very early set Fran9ois de Sales, who was 
Bishop of Geneva, the task of converting Theodore de Beza, 
who received him with much courtesy, bat their conferences 
had no result. 


less for the practical benevolence, also rational and 
perfectly orthodox^ wliicli now made itself felt every- 
where, but especially in the 

' Lonely and wretched roofs in the crowded lanes of the city, 
Where distress and want concealed themselves from the 

sunlight, , «^ 

Where disease and scTrrow in garrets languished neglected.' 

How could they protect even their own families from 
the fashion for the culture of the sentimental which 
now set in, and which naturally prepared every young 
Huguenot, who gave himself or herself up to it, to 
become the easy prey of the Church that rested so 
much on this cidture ? The Calvinists were like 
Daedalus in the Labyrinth of Crete : they might make 
themselves wings and fly over these mountains of 
difficulty and these oceans of despair, but they were 
doomed to see their children fall one after the other. 
Icarus perished because he flew too high ; these young 
Huguenots because they had not faith to fly at all. 
They thought it easier to swim with the tide than to 
fly against the wind. 

Defections like those of the inheritor of the name of 
Henri de Conde, or of the daughter of the Marshal de 
Lesdiguieres, might be easily sustained, but it was 
heartbreaking to see the descendants of such illus- 
trious Calvinists as Coligny and Agrippa d^Aubigno 
selling themselves to the enemy. 


In theie Misery the People Worship the Devil. 

The Calvinists might have regarded without dismay 
the defection of their aristocratic members, had they 
felt themselves rooted in the heart of the country, had 


the people been on tlieir side. But the people, 
ignorant and superstitious, and suffering terrible 
pri^^ations, were very unfavourably disposed to the 
Huguenots. When for more than one generation 
the people in the country had seen their cottages 
burnt, tlieir farmyards fired, their vineyards and their 
corn-fields destroyed, and their orchards turned into 
charcoal; when the people in the towns had been 
exposed to sudden assaults, to risings, to massacres — 
in one word, to the horrors of civil war extending 
over forty years, it was natural that they should begin 
to curse the contending parties, and, unaware, in their 
ignorauce of contemporary history, who were really 
the aggressors, should listen to the lies afloat con- 
cerning the Huguenots, and mingle both parties in one 
common abjuration. 

In the States-General of 1614 the third estate 
depicted in moving terms the horrible condition to 
which the French peasantry were reduced, who, they 
declared, might be seen browsing on the grass like 
animals and with the animals ; and this statement they 
twice repeat, Guienne and the Auvergne being specially 
mentioned on the second occasion. The misery which 
such a statement indicates was certainly not wholly 
due to these civil wars, but rather to the fact that the 
mass of the poor were ever being crushed lower and 
lower by the unjust system to which they were sub- 
jected. The burden of taxation really fell on them, 
for the poorer the masters grew the more they were 
obliged to insist on their so called rights, until their 
exactions rendered the peasants more miserable than 
ever. Thus in the same States- General the orator of 
the third estate denounced the nobility to the king in 
the most passionate language. ^ Lions and tigers,' he 
said, ^ are not so bad, for they do no evil to those that 
nourish them.' It was therefore calculated to render 


the Protestant cause still more unpopular that it num- 
bered some thousands of the nobility in its ranks. 
The wretchedness of the people may be further seen 
in the fact that at this time the worship of the devil 
prevailed in many parts of France.^ 

This return to the darkest paganism had been 
known during the Middle Ages^ coming into greater or 
less prominence according to the misery or happiness 
of the times. It now appeared in forms less brutal, 
but mingled with insincerity, jugglery, and sacrilegious 
trickery. This long fighting, this murdering in the 
name of God and the Church, had destroyed faith ; 
and supposed Catholics parodied in these demoniacal 
convocations the rites of the Church, mimicking 
baptism, the elevation of the host, the consecration of 
priests, etc. 

The superstition that prevailed everywhere is beyond 
conception. In the convents there were scenes of 
dark and mystic wickedness, which at times broke 
out into great and all-absorbing scandals. Even the 
Calvinists, whose habit of mind freed them perhaps 
more than any other religionists from mysticism, were 
not absolutely proof against the tendency of the 

Thus Agrippa d'Aubigne relates, apparently be- 
lieving it, the miracle of an old woman of seventy 
receiving power to suckle an infant left in her charge ; 
and he himself had in his house a deaf and dumb 
man who was able to give information concerning 
events past and future. This ^ mute monster,^ to use 
the descriptive title of the narrative, foretold that the 

^ The importance of this in any complete understanding of 
the misery of the poor at this period, may be judged from the 
fact that Michelet has devoted four chapters in his history of 
France to the terrible superstition prevailing in the reign of 
Louis XIII. 



king would die in three years and a half, with the 
attendant circumstances ; also that La Rochelle would 
be besieged and would fall, that its fortifications would 
be dismantled, and that both the city and the Protes- 
tant party would be ruined. 


A Last Effort at Keconciliation. 

The Huguenots, however, were still a great political 
power. About the year 1600 there were 760 parishes 
in their possession, 4,000 of the nobility were Calvinists, 
they held 200 fortified places, and it was believed that 
they could put 25,000 men in the field. They were 
then, in fact, well organized, both religiously and 
politically. It is evident, however, that some of the 
more thoughtful among them began to doubt if this 
sort of thing was any real strength to a cause which 
they had believed was_ that of the kingdom of heaven. 
This probably explains their division into two parties, 
the enthusiasts and the moderate, the zealous and the 
timid. At any rate, some of the most enlightened 
among them were prepared to make the greatest 
sacrifices rather than continue a system which they 
felt must end in their ruin. 

In the last year of Henry the Fourth^s reign, three 
months before his death, seven pastors met in Paris 
at the house of Pierre Dumoulin, the minister of 
the temple at Charenton. One of the company was 
Daniel Chamier, a man of great learning, and whose 
zeal in the Protestant cause is undoubted, for he was 
killed on the ramparts during the siege of Montauban. 
These seven pastors deputed Agrippa d^Aubigne, who 
happened to arrive at the time, to go to the king and 
tell him that in order to end all these troubles the 


Calvinists would agree to accept a reform of the Churcli 
which would restore it to what it was at the end 
of the fourth century and at the commencement of the 

Henry sent D'Aubigne to Cardinal Duperron, who 
had just returned from Rome_, where they had tried to 
poison him, and who consequently was in an unusually 
favourable mood for such a proposition. He received 
D^Aubigne with a kiss on both cheeks_, and proceeded 
to lament the miseries of Christendom_, asking if there 
were no means of doing some good. D^Aubigne did 
not reply at first, but being further pressed, he said 
that Guicciardini had pointed out the way to proceed 
when he said, referring to the Church as well as the 
State, that good institutions which had descended to a 
people from their ancestors should be reformed from 
time to time by being led back to their first institution : 
'We therefore propose to you, resting as you do on 
antiquity, to accept for immutable law the constitutions 
of the Church as established and observed in the fourth 
century ; and each side pointing out what they con- 
sider corrupt, you beginning, as the elder, it shall be 
reformed according to this standard.^ The cardinal 
cried out that the Calvinist ministers would disavow 
such a proposition; but on being assured that they 
would agree to it, he remained pensive some time, and 
then said, ' Give us forty years more.' D'Aubigne 
replied that, if the general proposition were accepted, 
they would agree to fifty when the subject came on 
for discussion. But then said the cardinal, ' You would 
have to agree to the elevation of the cross, and you 
dare not do that.' D'Aubigne intimated that for the 
sake of peace this would be accepted, but retorting on 
the cardinal, he said, ' You would not dare to accept 
our first demand, which would be to put the authority 
of the pope where it Avas at the end of the fourth 


century. No/ he continued, ' you would not dare to 
do that, even if we gave you two hundred years more.'' 
The cardinal replied, ' We must do this at Paris, even 
if they would not do it at Rome/ 

Three months after, the knife of Ravaillac cut the 
thread of this hopeful negotiation, and the Jesuits more 
and more got the upper hand. 


Persecution Recommences. 

Elie Benoit relates that the bailiff of a certain village 
was requested by the cure to compel a locksmith, whose 
shop was opposite the church, to leave off singing. As 
the man took no notice of the first summons, the ser- 
geant came and, with every legal form, repeated the 
order. It was necessary that the officer should write 
the locksmith^s answer, but the man said he had nothing 
to reply. ' I must put something,^ said the sergeant. 
' Oh, well, put then : 

" Jamais ne cesseray 
De magnifier le Seigneur; 
En ma bouclie auray son lionneur 

Tant que vivaut seray."^ ^ 

This incident was one of the results of the law of 
1626, forbidding Huguenots to sing psalms in the 
street or in their shops. After the assassination of 
Henry IV. (1610), a persecution began, often very 
small, but perpetual. The Calvinists were attacked in 
their various rights. The magistracy, mostly Galilean, 
strove to prove their loyalty to Catholicism by render- 

* Ps. cxlvi. 2, In our version : * While I live will I praise 
the Lord ; I will sing praises unto my God while I have any 


ing tlie mixed chambers a farce. Huguenots were not 
allowed to enter a hospital to console a sick brother, 
or to hold their schools within the cities, or even in the 
suburbs of episcopal towns. 

In the States-General of 1614, a demand had been 
made for the prosecution of Huguenots who prevented 
their children from being Catholics. The next thing 
was to carry them off and shut them up in convents. 
Huguenots could not take a corpse to be buried with- 
out being pursued with cries and insults. Henry IV. 
had known how to keep these barbarities in check ; 
but now the authorities only moved when some very 
great commotion occurred. At Tours, the cry being 
raised that the Huguenots had killed a child, the people 
rose and burnt the temple, and dug up a body just 
interred, dragged it over the road, and tore it to pieces. 
The same scene was repeated at Poitiers, at Mauze, 
and at Croisic. Henceforth the Protestants were 
obliged to bury their dead at night, a proceeding 
which obtained for them the name of j)ar^aillois — 

VVhile these things filled the Protestants with dejec- 
tion, the reformed monastic orders displayed a jubilant 
energy. In Poitou and Languedoc the Huguenots 
were very numerous. The Capuchins covered these 
two provinces with their missions. The Franciscans 
claimed marvellous triumphs in the south-west, also 
a stronghold of Protestantism. Father Yillele, of 
Bordeaux, was said to have brought almost the whole 
town of Foix to Catholicism, and to have converted 
the very man, now more than a hundred years old, 
who had led into Foix the first Protestant preacher, 
sent there by Calvin. The Jesuits were everywhere 
making extraordinary progress and winning golden 
opinions by their fraternities of the Virgin, who nursed 
the sick and wounded in the war. The Catholic 


Churcli Lad iu fact completely imbibed their spirit^ 
aud tlie work of conversion was pnslied on by every 
means^ fair or foul. 


Going down to Egypt for Help. 

Habit^ wo know, is a second nature^ and forty years' 
more or less fighting had made recourse to the sword 
only too natural. Thus some of the Huguenot pastors 
were among the most ready for violent measures. 
Pierre Beraud published, in 1626_, a famous tract, in 
which he taught that ministers of religion might carry 
arms and shed blood. Sentiments of this kind brought 
them naturally into union with the turbulent nobility, 
whom it is difficult to credit with much better motives 
than the maintenance of their own position and the 
aggrandisement of their family. The more powerful 
among them professed themselves to be the champions 
of the Huguenots, using the influence they thus ob- 
tained for their own advancement. 

In 1611, the nobility of the Dauphine attempted 
to get the entire management of Protestant aSairs 
in that district. ^ As to the synod belongs the direc- 
tion of ecclesiastical affairs, to us,^ they said, ' belongs 
the direction of political affairs. '' Their aim, or at 
least their tendency, was always to an aristocratic 

And this belief in the advantage of fighting under 
the ^gis of some powerful nobleman was so ingrained 
in the Huguenots that it came to be a sort of sacred 
tradition that the Reformed Churches must have a pro- 
tector at court. Under this fatal notion the Huguenots, 
a few years after the death of Henry IV., accepted as 
their leader a bigoted Catholic, whose interest in 


their cause was that for the momeut it assisted his 
projects. The Prince de Conde, the representative of 
the younger branch of the Bourbons, made himself, in 
1614, the mouthpiece of all the grievances in the king- 
dom ; among other things he complained that the Edict 
of Nantes was not observed. He and his friends made 
themselves so dangerous that the court bought them. 
Conde received 450,000 livres for the expenses he had 
been at, the Duke o£ Longueville a pension of 100,000 
livres, the Duke of Mayenne 100,000 livres and the 
reversion of the government of Paris, the Duke of 
Bouillon other pecuniary advantages. The latter was 
a Protestant. 

This movement having proved so advantageous, 
Conde soon issued another manifesto, in which he ap- 
pealed for support to the Gallicans and the Huguenots. 
He wrote to the Protestant assembly at Grenoble, and 
that body, not only welcomed his advances, but begged 
the court to listen to his remonstrances, to declare the 
majority of the king, and bring to justice those who 
had murdered Henry IV. Condons army was directed 
by the Protestant Duke of Bouillon, and the Grenoble 
assembly transferred itself to Nimes, where, by the 
intervention of the Duke of Kohan,^ who had joined 
the prince, a treaty was concluded in September, 1615, 
between the assembly and their Catholic leader. The 
duke also obtained the adherence of his father-in-law. 
Sully, the great finance minister of Henry IV. 

Conde, however, signed a truce the following January, 

^ Henri de Eohan, the represeutabive of one of the chief 
families in France, was the son of an heroic mother, whose 
devotion to the Reformation places her among that list of 
heroines which is one of the real glories of France. The 
duke himself was the most earnest and sincere of all the war- 
like leaders of the time. He was a partisan leader of the 
highest order. 


and commenced to negotiate. The assembly having 
transferred itself to La Rochelle, resolutely stood out 
for its own conditions. The prince^ however, ignored 
its pretensions, and signed a peace, saying, ' Those who 
will not do as I shall be made to do it/ Thus the 
Huguenots got no advantage for all their efforts beyond 
a confirmation of the privileges they already enjoyed, 
and a declaration that when the king, in his coronation 
oath, swore to extirpate heretics, it did not refer to 
his subjects of the Reformed religion living under 
the protection of his edicts. Conde, on the other 
hand, was to have one million and a half livres for his 
expenses ; altogether Richelieu reckoned that this war 
cost the king six millions, and the country twenty 
millions more. The advantage Conde obtained for the 
people was the re-establishment of the salt tax, sup- 
pressed in 1610. Well might they say, ^ What have 
we to do with the quarrels of the great ? Let them 
settle it among themselves, we will not mix ourselves 
up with it. We know too well how they treat their 


Jesuit Coup d^Etat in Bearn. 

The drama proceeds with all the certainty of a decree 
of predestination. The royal power is bound to attain 
the unification of the country and the suppression of 
everything dangerous to its authority; the Jesuits 
cannot rest in the counter-Reformation which at this 
moment was just reaching its crisis, all being ready 
for the springing of the mine and the storming and 
capture of the citadel. The Calvinists, on the other 
hand, were everywhere arriving at their final goal. 
Geneva and the Netherlands were already republics ; 


the Protestauts of England, France, and even Germany, 
were nearer the same form of government than they 
imagined. A collision between the two forces was 
inevitable, and the resnlt was equally inevitable. The 
party which everywhere, and by every means, was 
growing weaker, must yield to the party which every- 
where, and by every means, was growing stronger ; the 
weakest must go to the wall. 

The first blow was struck in France. When Beam 
became Protestant, the ecclesiastical property was 
used to support the Reformed faith. However, the 
Catholic clergy did not cease to claim it, though the 
government was deaf to their complaints, fearing the 
resentment of the Huguenots, who regarded Beam as 
a second Geneva. But now the time had come ; the 
Jesuit Cotton, the friend of De Sales, gave place to a 
more violent type of his society, the Jesuit Arnoux, 
who induced Louis the Thirteenth's minister, the Duke 
of Luynes, to issue a decree establishing the Catholic 
religion in Beam. The decree was to take effect in 
September, 1617. The commotion excited was great. 
A Protestant assembly met at Orthes, and was sup- 
ported by the Parliament at Pau, who declared such 
a change could not be made without its consent. The 
Orthes assembly obtained the convocation of a general 
assembly at LaRochelle, which met in December, 1617. 
This proceeding, opposed by the politicians, was sup- 
ported by the pastors. 

Intestine warfare in the court delayed for a time 
the conclusion of the royal work in the Beam ; the 
queen-mother was struggling against the favourite, 
Luynes. Unfortunately the Huguenots, indignant 
with Luynes, allowed themselves to be drawn into 
supporting Marie de Medici. A surprise at Les 
Ponts de Ce routed her party, and the court made up 
their quarrels^ leaving the Huguenots in the attitude 


of rebels. The king ufc once proceeded against Bearn^ 
wliere lie made an easy entry, owing to the discord of 
its two factions of Beaumont and of Grammont. He 
compelled the Parliament of Pan to register the 
decree returning the ecclesiastical property to the 
Catholic clergy, and at the same time united Beam 
and Lower Navarre to the kingdom of France (Oct., 

The passage of the royal troops was marked by 
many outrages against the ^ cursed religion/ as they 
named the Reformed faith. The temples were burst 
open, and the tables on which the commandments were 
written pulled down. The peasants were beaten, the 
Reformed compelled to make the sign of the cross 
and kneel down as the host passed. All this was done 
under the king's eyes ; elsewhere the soldiers did as 
they liked. The king, they said, had given them leave 
to pillage the Huguenots. They drove away the 
pastors, outraged the women, and forced the people to 
mass by aid of a cudgel. It was the first symptom of 
the Dragonnades. 


The Huguenot Commonwealth at La Rochelle. 

The Protestants throughout the kingdom saw in these 
tyrannical proceedings the coming despotism in 
Church and State ; and in the general assembly which 
met at La Rochelle in 1621, the party called ^the 
zealous ' predominated. Under their impulse the 
assembly planned a complete organization of Protes- 
tant Prance. The aristocratic leaders held aloof, but 
the ^ zealous ^ accused them of desertion, and threat- 
ened to give them up as leaders. De Rohan, stung with 
this reproach, united himself to the assembly, and so 


did his brother, Soubise ;■'• other noblemen soon fol- 

■ The king advanced towards the Loire in April, 
1621, backed in the war he was about to wage by the 
clergy of the Roman Chnrch. The pope offered two 
hundred thousand crowns on condition the Huguenots 
Avere brought, willingly or unwillingly, into the fold of 
the Church; the cardinals off'ered a similar sum, and 
the priests a million. 

To the edict which the king launched against the 
assembly, it replied by a manifesto in which it justi- 
fied the war, and by a plan orga,nizing Protestant 
France under military leaders. This organization, 
though it never got as a whole beyond paper, is very 
important, as marking the extreme point to which the 
Huguenots arrived politically ; and although they kept 
up the form of doing all ^ under very humble subjec- 
tion to the king given by God,^ it is clear that they 
were on the same road as that which, a few years later, 
led the English Puritans to a commonwealth. 

Protestant France was to be divided into eight 
military governments, each under the rule of a com- 
mander appointed by the assembly, the whole to be 
directed by a general-in- chief. This general was to 
have a council composed of the lords of his army and 
three deputies from the assembly. Each commander 
was to have a council of lords, with three deputies 
from the provincial assembly of his district. The 
general assembly reserved to itself the right of making 
peace. The resources of the war were to be obtained 
from the royal and ecclesiastical goods. The discipline 

^ The Duke of Soubise always did as his brother, until the fiual 
ruin of the Protestants as a political party, when he fled to 
England, where he died in 16i2, and was buried in Westmin- 
ster Abbey by order of Charles I. 


and morality of the troops were to be preserved by the 
presence of pastors attached to the armies, and by the 
rigid exclusion of all women. A map of the arrange- 
ment would give some idea of the great inequality of the 
divisions of the numbers of the Protestants in diflferent 
parts of the country. In a general way it may be 
said that they were strong in the west^ the south, 
and the south-east ; but weak in the north, north-east, 
and central France ; and it is much the same in the 
present day. La Rochelle and Montauban were their 
strongest places. The first the assembly kept under 
its own control, and that of the magistrates of the 
city. Montauban was committed to their most trusty 
lieutenant, the Duke of Rohan. 

The Protestants met with a series of misfortunes. 
Bouillon and Lesdiguieres refused their commands, the 
latter entering the royal army. Saumur was taken 
by a fraud out of the hands of Duplessis-Mornay ; 
La Force was driven from Beam ; St. Jean d'Angely, 
called the bulwark of La Rochelle, was taken in three 
weeks ; the Protestant fortresses were delivered up by 
their governors ; in Lower Guienne all the Protestant 
towns except Clairac opened their gates to the royal 
army, and that town was taken in twelve days, its 
consuls and a pastor being hanged. 

The conquering army was at last stopped by Mon- 
tauban. The siege commenced the 18th of August, 
1621, and continued two months and a half. The tliie 
of the French nobility accompanied the king ; but no 
impression was made, and the bad season coming on 
they had to raise the siege and go home. The 
evening before^ a Huguenot soldier in the royal army 
began to play on his flute the commencement of 
the Huguenot battle hymn, the sixty-eighth psalm. 
The besieged city heard the musical message, and 
comprehended that their deliverance was at hand. 


Aud the reader will the better understand how that 
flute did all that science can do by telegraph cypher, 
telegram, or telephone, and what was the secret in- 
spiration of the Huguenot resistance, if we venture 
on a literal translation of the first words of the para- 
phrase : 

' Let God only arise, and suddenly will be seen 
The enemy's camp break up to abandon the place. 
And His haters flying in all parts before His face. 
God will make them all fly away, 
As one sees fade into nothing 
A cloud of smoke ; 
As wax before the fire, 
So the strength of the wicked 
Is consumed before the Lord.'^ 


Huguenot Learning and Methods of Education. 

{First half of til c seventeenth centunj.) 

In the midst of all this turmoil, side by side with 
these spurred and booted warriors, we see everywhere 
learned and thoughtful students. Unfortunately, much 
of this learning was spent on controversial theology, 
the famous Synod of Dort (1618-1G19) having, by its 
forcible suppression of the followers of Arminius, 
greatly accentuated Protestant divisions. Several of 
the Dutch Arminians fled to France, where they found 
sympathisers among the Huguenots. However, at 
least two of the most eminent among the pastors, 
Dumoulin and Rivet, were Calvinists of the severer 

Pierre Dumouliu (1568-1658) was saved from the 

^ See Appendix. 


massacre of Sfc. Bartliolomew, a child four years of age. 
At thirty-one he became pastor of Charenton. In 
1621 he was driven by the Jesuits from Paris, and 
took refuge at Sedan. Amongst his principal writ- 
ings were a Defence of the Reformed Churches of 
France, TJie Buckler of the Faith, and Tlie Anatomy 
of ilie Mass. Dumoulin lived to be ninety years of 
age. The joy with which he quitted life, while it 
proves his ardent piety, suggests also the depressing 
nature of the conflict in which he had borne a leading 
part. ^ Oh, how good you are ! ' he said to those who 
told him he was going to die. '^Kind Death, how 
welcome thou art ! How happy shall I be to see my 
God, to whom I have so long aspired ! ' 

Andre Rivet (1572-1651) was a leading man at this 
time, presiding in 1617 at the national synod held at 
Vitre. He quitted France in 1619, and became a 
professor of theology in Holland. He wrote an Intro- 
duction to the Study of the Bible, in which he rests 
Biblical criticism on grammar and philology rather 
than on allegorical interpretation. 

John Cameron (1579-1625), a Scotchman by birth, 
was first pastor at Bordeaux, and then succeeded 
Gomar, the great defender of extreme Calvinism, as 
professor of theology at Saumur. He was, however, 
of another school, and even attacked the writings of 
Theodore de Beza. Cameron was much honoured, the 
national synod of Castres voting a pension to his 
children as a mark of respect to his memory. 

Daniel Chamier (1565-1621) was one of the most 
powerful spirits the Huguenots possessed. He dis- 
puted with Cotton, wrote with force and acumen 
against Bellarmine, and was president of the national 
synod of Privas, which refused to accept either pardon 
or amnesty from Marie de Medici (161o). His willing- 
ness to make great ecclesiastical concessions shows the 


breadtli and humanity of his learning ; his inflexible 
and courageous adherence to the Protestant cause^ 
and at all risks, shows the rock-like character of the 
man. ' He was/ says Bayle, ^ as odious to authority 
as he was dear to the Churches.' He was killed by a 
cannon ball on the ramparts of Montauban (1021), 
where he went every day to encourage and exhort the 

Benjamin Basnage (1580-1652), Garissoles (1587- 
1650), and Jean Mestrezat (1562-1657), all appear to 
have been men of courage and zealous for the cause. 
Mestrezat was appointed pastor of Charenton when 
quite a youth. In an audience he had with Louis 
XIII., Eichelieu asked him how it was the Protestants 
had pastors who were not French. 'It is much to 
be wished,' said Mestrezat, ' that many of the Italian 
monks now in France had as much zeal for his 
majesty as these foreign pastors, who recognise no 
other sovereign than the king.' Richelieu struck him 
on the shoulder, saying, ' Here is the boldest minister 
in France.' 

The Huguenot pastors of this time were men of 
great learning. Louis Cappel (1586-1658), professor 
at Saumur, was one of the first Hebrew scholars of the 
age. Samuel Petit (1594-1643) was a profound orien- 
talist. He occupied in 1627, at Nimes, the three 
professorships of theology, Greek, and Hebrew. One 
day he heard a rabbi denouncing Christianity in 
Hebrew, and, without any resentment, immediately 
replied in Hebrew, exhorting the rabbi to study better 
the faith he attacked. A cardinal offered to get him 
admission into the Vatican library, and to entrust him 
with a review of the manuscripts; but he declined, 

^ One of the last of Chamier's descendants was returned 
member of Parliament for Tam worth in 1772. 


fearing that it miglit cost him liberty of conscience. 
He was of a gentle, peacefal disposition, adverse to all 
controversy, a good type of ^ the moderate ^ in Hugue- 
not politics. 

This learning was fostered and encouraged by a 
number of academies scattered freely over France. 
Sedan, in the north-east, Saumur, in the north-west 
(1599), Montauban, towards the south-west (1598), 
Die, in the Dauphine (1604), Montpellier (1598), and 
Nimes (1561), to the south, were all centres of learn- 
ing, well supplied with professors, and a body of 
students, who passed through a course of eloquence, 
philosophy, and theology, and more or less instruction 
in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. They played a great 
part in Protestant education in France, and were not 
confined to students in theology, though no doubt the 
education of a learned and orthodox ministry was 
their supreme object. For the pulpit occupied during 
the first two centuries after the Reformation a place in 
Protestant Europe only paralleled in a few exceptional 
cases, and at rare intervals, in anterior history. 

Candidates were proposed and examined at the 
sitting of the provincial synods, and, if accepted, they 
were required to sign the confession of faith. They 
preached before the synod on being proposed, and 
again at the close of their course, as students in 
theology ; and, if finally approved, they were ordained, 
either at a consistory or in a synod. The candidate 
knelt, while one of the leading ministers addressed 
him on the duties of the pastorate, after which some 
of the pastors present laid hands upon him. The 
officiating minister then gave him the right hand of 
fellowship, and the Sunday following he preached his 
entrance sermon. 

As the limits of each Church were those of its town 
or district, there were frequently several pastors 


attached to the same Church. Ou Sunday _, there were 
three sermons preached by three different pastors. A 
liturgy was used, which permitted the minister, after 
reading" an exhortation and confession, to occupy the 
greater part of the service in free prayer and preach- 
ing. Chanting the psalms was a very important 
feature in the service, which concluded with a long 
prayer from the formulary. On Wednesdays there 
was a short service, consisting mainly of an exhorta- 
tion, the rest of the service being accommodated to 

The pastors were assisted by elders and deacons, 
chosen by the consistories with the assent of the 
people. The office of the former was, with the pastors, 
to watch over the people, to cause them to assemble, 
to make known scandals to the pastors ', also to watch 
over the pastors and deacons, especially to maintain 
purity of doctrine in the former. The deacons had the 
care of the poor, and with the elders gave notice of 
the communion, which was done by leaving a little 
lead ticket at the dwelling of each person entitled to 
be present. 

The Communion of the Lord's Supper was celebrated 
at a long table, some of the elders presiding; the 
deacons cut up bread, which the ministers distributed, 
and also the wine. If any one had an invincible re- 
pugnance to wine he was not expected to take more 
than the bread. The supper was administered first to 
the men, then to the women, the pastors sitting at a 
table on a raised dais. The communion commenced 
with an address on its nature and meaning and the 
duties of the participants ; while it proceeded, a lay- 
man, often an artisan, but generally the schoolmaster, 
read passages from the Bible, and caused psalms to 
be sung. 

As the Lord's Supper was regarded as another form 



of preaching the Gospel, aud an act of fellowship 
among believers, so baptism meant nothing more than 
reception into the Church. The service of infant 
baptism, as practised in 1566, considerably softens the 
severity of Calvinist doctrine, since it saj's that Christ 
did not come to diminish the grace of God, but that 
all circumcision was under the Old Testament baptism 
is under the New, implying that as the Jews were elect 
for their fathers' sake, so among Christians there was 
also an election of families. This at least was the 
impression the service must have conveyed. 

French Calvinism regarded the education of its 
little children in Christian doctrine as of the highest 
importance. It was customary to collect them in the 
temples and teach them a catechism, which was an 
exposition of the Apostles^ Creed, the Ten Command- 
ments, and the Lord's Prayer. As taught in the 
middle of the sixteenth century, prior to the massacre 
of St. Bartholomew, it is a most interesting document, 
by no means hard, narrow, or unintelligent. 

The Eeformed Churches of France were from the 
very first of the same mind as those of Germany and 
Switzerland with regard to the education of the 
people, for they devoted a whole chapter of their 
^ Discipline ' to the subject. 

But it was not until after the Edict of Nantes that 
they were able to carry into effect the article of their 
' Discipline ^ which said : ' The Churches shall make 
it a duty to raise schools and to give orders that the 
young people be instructed.'' 

In the project of the Edict, in 593, it was agreed 
that the Reformed might build and rent colleges for 
the instruction of their youth, and the Edict ex- 
pressly permitted them to ^hold public schools,' in 
places where the exercise of their religion was re- 
cognised, and to provide by special legacies for 


the support of the scholars belonging to their 

Each Church had a regent or schoolmaster to teach 
reading and arithmetic to the children^ and in centres 
of importance there was a second regent^ who taught 
the elements of Latin. At the beginning of the 
seventeenth century the salary of the first order of 
schoolmaster in these primary schools was fifty livres 
a year, which rose sometimes to nearly a hundred 
or even two hundred livres, to which was added the 
contributions of the richer pupils, not generally 
numerous. The schoolmasters who taught Latin 
received from one hundred and twenty to one hundred 
and forty livres per annum, and the pupils paid from 
ten to fifteen sous a month. These salaries were fixed 
by the consistories. The instruction given was in 
reality nearly gratuitous. 


Louis XIIL and Eichelieu. 

The war recommenced in 1622. Lonis XIIL hauo-ed 
or sent to the galleys every prisoner taken. This so 
intimidated the Protestants that they fell away in vast 
numbers ; and some of their chiefs, unaccustomed to 
such exterminatory warfare, made their peace with the 
king. At Negrepelisse, a little town near Montauban, 
the king struck a blow intended to terrorise. In 
half an hour every inhabitant was murdered, women 
flying with children in their arms found no mercy, the 
streets were choked with the dead, and running with 
blood. Those who fled into the castle surrendered 
next day at discretion, and were all hanged. At 
Toulouse the royal captains and great lords, the 
Prince de Conde, etc., etc., with six hundred gentle- 


men took the communion together, some even joined 
the Confraternity of the Blue Penitents.^ 

However, the royal army was stopped this time at 
Montpellier, and towards the middle of October the 
king agreed with Rohan to articles of peace. The 
Edict of Nantes was confirmed, religious assemblies 
permitted, but no political assembly was to be held 
without the king^s express permission. Montpellier 
was to be dismantled. La Rochelle and Montauban were 
still to remain fortifi.ed places. Finally the Protestant 
leader, the Duke of Rohan, received a mortgage of 
600,000 livres on the Duchy of Valois, and another 
sum in ready money of 200,000 livres ; his pensions 
were re-established as well as those of his brother. 

This treaty was but a stopping to take breath j the 
drama had an inevitable end. The authorities and the 
people, animated without doubt by the general in- 
fluence working through Europe, irritated the Protes- 
tants by persistent petty persecutions, disturbing them 
in their religious worship, depriving them of their 
temples, taking from them their cemeteries and dis- 
interring their dead; beating, wounding, and driving 
the pastors away from the churches, compelling them 
in their synods to deliberate in the presence of a royal 
official. The more zealous among the Huguenots, 
moved not only by these things, but also by their 
sympathies with the great currents of feeling surging 
in Germany and England, were ready at every oppor- 
tunity to draw the sword. A partisan warfare raged 
in Languedoc under Rohan and his brother Soubise. 
The flame flickered and died down, then rose again ; 
but the greater part of the Huguenot people refused 
to arm. In vain did Rohan denounce their indiffer- 

^ The same wl)0 had formerly induced tLe Huguenots to 
support his rebellion* 


ence, cupidity, venality; it was of no avails sometliing 
seemed to tell them the struggle v/as liopeless. And 
so it was, for a man had arisen who had sworn to 
ruin the Huguenot party, a man who possessed the 
ability to do all he determined. In his Testament 
Politique, Cardinal Richelieu gives the picture he put 
before Louis XEII. of the condition of France in 1624. 
' I can truly say/ he tells the king, ^ that the Hugue- 
nots share the State with the State, that the grandees 
conduct themselves as if they were not its subjects, 
and the more powerful governors of provinces as if 
they were themselves their sovereigns. ... I pro- 
mise your majesty to employ all my industry, and all 
the authority it may please you to give me, to ruin the 
Huguenot party, to lower the pride of the grandees, 
to reduce all your majesty's subjects to their duty, 
and to cause your name to be respected in foreign 
countries as it ought to be.' And on determining to 
attack and subjugate the Protestant citadel, La Rochelle, 
Richelieu saw he should attain all these ends. This 
is why he took so profound an interest in the siege, 
commanding in person, and directing all things as a 
general in the field. 


The Siege op La Rochelle. 

On the western coast of France, facing the Atlantic, 
stood La Rochelle, long the most independent city in 
France. Its privileges had been granted by Eleanor 
of Aquitaine, wife of Edward IL, and had been ac- 
knowledged iDy Louis XI. Its inhabitants, numbering 
in 1625 28,000 souls, governed themselves by means 
of 100 magistrates, consisting of a mayor, twenty-four 
sheriffs, and seventy-five peers. They had their own 
troops, a marine, a treasury, and very extensive rights 


of jurisdiction. Intelligent, industrious, excellent 
sailors, they were rich and prosperous. 

In 1557, the Reformation commenced in La Rochelle. 
It soon won the city, which thus became the Calvinist 
stronghold. It was in fact a Protestant republic, to 
which every one fled who had energy, courage, and 
was uncompromisingly Calvinistic. This indomitable 
seat of liberty Richelieu determined to conquer. He 
came attended by the king, and by various generals 
and engineers, by three militant bishops, who, career- 
ing about the camp on horseback, acted as his lieu- 

There were no means of conquering the place except 
by starvation. But how starve a great maritime town 
that looked out on the sea, and was promised the 
succour of the Enghsh fleet ? The cardinal deter- 
mined to build across the harbour an immense dyke, 
or rather two, which very nearly met, the opening 
being dominated by a great fort. The generals 
laughed, did not believe it possible, possibly they did 
not want La Rochelle to fall; for that gone, even 
Catholic noblemen might expect to be eaten alive by 
this ecclesiastical monster. It was certainly not from 
the Huguenots that the cry subsequently arose, ^ No 
more priest-generals.'' 

However, the cardina?s engineers set to work, and 
in six months the dyke was constructed. Meanwhile 
Buckingham came and went, and the Rochellois saw 
nothing could be done but to endure to the uttermost. 
They elected for their mayor an old sailor, named 
Guitou. He refused the ofiice, but when they per- 
sisted, he took out a dagger, and laying it on the 
council chamber of the town hall, said, ^ The man 
who proposes we surrender, I plunge this into his 

Three times an English fleet appeared in front of 


the towD, for the English Parliament was determined 
at every cost to succour La Rochelle. But each time 
the expediton was a failure^ and so the Rochellois 
looked in vain for supplies. At last they ate boiled 
leather, and a cat sold for forty-five livres. Indeed, 
it is related that a man kept his child alive for a week 
by blood drawn from his own veins. E-educed to the 
last extremity, they decided to drive out all the poor, 
all the infirm, all widows and old and helpless people. 
This band of miserable outcasts were received by the 
hostile camp with a volley of musketry. They re- 
turned in despair to the city, whose pitiless gates were 
barred. They fell into the trench, and here, for a 
morsel of bread, the women endured the last extremity 
of dishonour from the soldiers of a prince of the 
Church and of the most Christian king. What a sight 
for the angels was this end of a religious war ! Two 
sets of militant Christians, both animated by their 
respective ministers, drive backwards and forwards 
the very people whom Jesus Christ most loved — drive 
them to a death the most horrible, the most despairful 
it is possible to imagine. 

After this La Rochelle was bound to fall ; it was only 
a question of time. Yet the stubborn city refused 
every offer ; it knew that this was the end. At last, 
when the third English fleet had failed to relieve them, 
it became clear the defence was hopeless, and they gave 
way. When Richelieu entered there were only 12,000 
living out of 28,000. He ordered the corpses to be 
cleared away, the streets cleansed, and the principal 
temple to be made the cathedral. Then, on the 1st of 
November, 1628, this minister of Jesus Christ, this 
prince in His so called Church, performed the miracle 
of the mass. The king entered the same evening, and 
a Jesuit very appropriately celebrated the Feast of the 
Dead. To this feast came a long line of ravening birds. 


who fastened and fattened on the dead carcase of Pro- 
testant Eochelle. It was the final scene^ and Richelieu_, 
knowing all was over, behaved with a magnanimity 
towards the conquered worthy of the genius and per- 
severance he had displayed. 

But, whatever the benefit to France of this great 
feat, the locality was permanently ruined. Two hun- 
dred and fifty years after the event the Poitevin 
peasant is fanatic and superstitious as the Bretons 
themselves. Catholic Rochelle is still to be seen with 
almost one- third less inhabitants to-day than it had 
in 1627. The cardinals dyke is still there, but the 
insects have seized on the city. A plague of white 
ants, imported from India, have fastened on its timbers, 
and especially infect the Prefecture and the Arsenal. 
The city built on a rock was to stand, but that which 
makes ought else its foundation is doomed to fall. 
The Protestant Churches of France had in the fall of 
La Rochelle a terrible but a just lesson. ' He that 
taketh the sword shall perish by the sword."* 


The End of Political Peotestantism. 

Richelieu celebrated his success over Protestantism 
by a pagan triumph at Paris, in which, in accordance 
with the allegorical taste of the age, Louis XIII. was 
represented as Jupiter Stator, holding in his hand a 
gilded thunderbolt ; a representation less open to 
ridicule than such exhibitions often were, because it 
expressed the truth about the situation and the car- 
dinal's policy. He was really making Louis XIII. 
the founder of a new order of things, and though he 
caused his Jove to launch thunderbolts, he did his best 
to have them gilded. 


Notwithstanding the general impulsion towards 
national unity^ a section of the Protestants were still 
Calvinistic enough to desire a separate existence. 
Their leader was the Duke of Rohan, a man who in 
this corrupt and vacillating age led a pure and earnest 
life, and in whom the old Haguenot spirit burnt 
strongly, as it did in his aged mother, a woman 
of gi-eat courage, fortitude, and constancy. Rohan 
bitterly denounced the refusal of his co-religionists 
to continue the struggle for a cause which was the 
only barrier to the incoming despotism. To obtain 
the means to carry it on, he went so far as to con- 
clude a treaty with Spain, by which in exchange for 
a subsidy of 300,000 ducats and a pension, he agreed 
to maintain the war as long as the King of Spain 
willed, and if peace was made to recommence it if 
Spain so determined ; while in the event of his suc- 
ceeding to the extent of his being able to establish a 
State apart from France, he agreed to grant liberty 
of conscience to all Catholics, and to preserve all 
monks and nuns in the possession of their property, 
honours, and dignities. 

To understand Rohan we must not only regard him 
as the last representative of the old political and of the 
new religious independence, but we must remember 
that the great Thirty Years' War had begun, and that 
Europe was really divided into two camps : the one 
fighting for Protestantism and individual and civic 
liberty, the other for Catholicism and spiritual and 
political despotism. When in this war we see James 
I. entering into friendly relations with the repre- 
sentatives of the Catholic party, and Pope Urban YIII. 
wishing success to the Protestants, we do not blame 
either of the two parties, but only those who sacrificed 
great objects for their own personal ends ; so now it 
is not Rohan, but Spain, that is the traitor. 


The Huguenot leader was supported by a political 
assembly convoked at Nimes ; but the Protestant cities 
and towns in the South of France refused to obey its 
injunctions^ and each made their own terms with the 
king. Marching triumphantly through the Protestant 
districts, the royal army came to Privas, an important 
town in the mountainous district of the Vivarais_, and 
near the Rhone,, which was held by some of the most 
determined adherents of Rohan. The inhabitants fled 
into the woods adjacent; all who were caught were put 
to death or sent to the galleys. At the moment the 
invading army entered the town an explosion took 
place, whereupon eight hundred Huguenot soldiers 
were slaughtered, and fifty of the citizens hanged, the 
city being sacked and burnt. 

Richelieu, it is said, was ill when Privas was taken ; 
it was not his wont to treat the Huguenots cruelly, and 
when those in arms finally submitted, he not only 
included all in the amnesty, but made the king swear 
once again to maintain the Edict of Nantes. There 
was one point upon which he was inflexible : all forti- 
fications were to be rased. Montauban, so long one 
of the two great Protestant fortresses, demurred to 
this j but when the Montalbanais heard that Richelieu 
was marching against them, they yielded, and welcomed 
him into the city to the cry of, ^ Vive le roi et le grand 
cardinal ^ (Aug. 21st, 1629). The victor received even 
the pastors courteously, telling them that in their 
quality as subjects the king would make no difi'erence 
between Protestants and Catholics. 

Thus political Protestantism was finally ruined in 
France, and a new era commenced. 



Passing under the ^ Caudine Forks/ 

The Reformed Churclies of France miglifc have found 
new streugtli in returning to tlieir normal state, but 
they had been so long accustomed to look up to the 
powerful of the earth for protection, that now their 
leaders are all conquered and overthrown, they turn 
instinctively to the victor for help, even going so far 
as to request the royal bounty in support of their 

The Catholic clergy, by ages of experience having 
learnt what it was to put their trust in princes, had 
accumulated immense property, to which they clung 
pertinaciously. Thus at the very time that Protestants 
were begging a little pecuniary aid, the French clergy 
were able to grant large sums of money to the king, — 
dons gratuits, — benevolences, as they were called in 
England. The result is obvious, the French Protes- 
tant Church fell into being a servant of servants, it 
became the tail of a State in which the Poman Catholic 
clergy had supreme influence. 

In this miserable position the Huguenots were open 
to the cruel selfishness of a world which has nearly 
always conceived might means right. As long as 
their enemies dreaded the possibility of their ultimate 
success, they treated them with some consideration ; 
now they knew that they could do no more, they took 
advantage after advantage. During the war, the 
clergy had not been prominent as persecutors; but 
now it had concluded in the final defeat of the Pro- 
testants, they commenced an exterminatory attack 
infinitely more difiicult to bear than a struggle which 
meant a soldier's life, with all its hazards. A restless 
militia of Jesuits and monks and friars was sent out 


against tliem, who, by continually exciting the fana- 
ticism of the populace, left the Huguenots no peace. 
Their only earthly protector was the inscrutable 
Richelieu, whose policy rendered him equally so of 
Jesuits and Carmelites. As to the kings Louis XIII. 
and Louis XIV., they learnt nothing from this great 
statesman except that the Huguenots were a danger 
to the royal authority, and that therefore it was 
necessary to depress them. All the subordinate au- 
thorities follow the evident bent of king and people. 
No favour to the heretics, but perpetual injustice. 
The intendants of the provinces, royal officials Avho 
acted as provincial viceroys, took this line, and con- 
stantly favoured the Jesuits against the pastors, and 
the bishops against the synods. Tlie provincial Par- 
liaments, assemblies of lawyers actuated by the same 
spirit, easily made the balance of justice dip when 
Huguenots were parties to a suit, or explained the law 
with severity when they were cited for some infraction 
of the penal code. It was the same with the uni- 
versities and colleges, more or less dominated by 
clerical influences. Thus the Huguenots, notwith- 
standing the Edict of Nantes, were made to feel that 
they would never be allowed their position in the 
State until they submitted to its religion. 


The Huguenot Pulpit and Protestant Art. 

{Middle of tliG seventeenth centiirij.) 

With so much in its favour, it is no wonder that the 
religion of the State pursued the work of conversion 
with energy. As few people like to be connected with 
a sinking cause, the upper classes could safely be left to 


the force of the tide ; but the mass of the Huguenots_, 
scattered iu more or less remote parts of the country, 
would not realize so readily the ruin of the Church ; 
for them therefore it was judged advisable to make 
great missionary efforts. 

The kind of men sent, however, proved that the 
rulers of the Gallicau Church little understood the 
genius of the Reformed Faith. Coarse, uneducated 
persons ran all over the country, setting up at corners 
of streets, or in crossways, tables with piles of books, 
challenging the Huguenots to controversy. Some- 
times they intruded into private houses, or even offered 
to debate with the pastors. 

But these ill-considered efforts met with little 
success, for in being able to give a reason for the 
faith that was in him, no religionist was ever better 
instructed than the Huguenot. 

Whatever were the shortcomings of the Protestant 
ministry, it had always been faithful to the rule which 
insisted on explaining to the people the principles of 
their religion. No ministry perhaps ever so cultivated 
the pulpit as a real source of power. They were 
enjoined to be prudent and restrained in their preach- 
ing, to abstain from digressions and amplifications, to 
avoid uselessly heaping up passages of Scripture, and 
that vain erudition which consists in stating a number 
of different explanations of the text or passage. They 
were urged not to indulge in violent and injurious 
lana-uasre against the Roman Church, but to prevent 

1*11 TT 

and repress such language as much as possible. Upon 
a people thus educated, the mere exertions of illiterate 
controversialists were wasted. 

A brief reference was made in a previous chapter to 
the more distinguished pastors of the French Reformed 
Churches during the first quarter of the seventeenth 
century. The time has come to mention those who 


were most prominent towards the middle of the 

When Louis XIV. came to the throne, in 1643, 
Dumoulin, Basnage, Garissoles, and Mestrezat were still 
living; Aubertin, Drelincourt, Daille_, Amyraut, De la 
Place, Gaussin, and Bochart were in the prime of life. 

Edme Aubertin (1595-1652) was the author of a 
powerful work on the Eucharist, in which he sought 
to prove that the doctrine of the Real Presence was 
unknown during the first six centuries of the Christian 

Charles Drelincourt (1595-1669) achieved a renown 
not permitted to the more learned efforts of some of 
his contemporaries. His Consolations in Frosped of 
Death was long a popular work. He wrote more for 
edification than any other end, and his works were 
regarded as very useful. His Summary of tJie Contro- 
versies armed his co-religionists against the sophistries 
of the converters, while his Preparations for the Lord's 
Supper, and his Charitable Visits, show the practical 
nature of his works. 

Jean Daille (1595-1670) was of the same age as the 
two former, and, like Aubertin, a man of solid eccle- 
siastical learning. He was brought up in the house 
of Duplessis-Mornay, and had travelled in all the 
principal countries of Europe. His first tract was 
entitled The Usage of the Fathers ; his opus magnum 
was his Apology of the Beformed Cliurches, in which he 
vindicates them from the charge of having broken the 
unity of the Catholic Church. He was a most laborious 
student, and might pass for the original of one of those 
philosophers which his contemporary Rembrandt (1608- 
1669) so often depicted, seated in a crypt-like kitchen, 
deep in meditation, while his wife or servant prepared 
his frugal morning meal. 

Moise Amyraut (1596-1664), professor at Saumur, 



was the exponent of a doctrine which lay midway be- 
tween that of the Calvinistic and the Arminian schools^ 
and which declared that the death of Jesus Christ was 
sufficient for all men, but only efficacious for the elect. 
Although he published a confession of faith in a sense 
contrary to Arminianism, this moderate advance in 
that direction rendered him open to the cliarge of 
heterodoxy. However, his great reputation for learn- 
ing and his amiable character enabled him to live 
down this reproach> and in his later life he was one of 
the most honoured Fathers of the Reformed Church. 
During the last ten years of his life he bestowed the 
whole of his salary on the poor without distinction of 
religion. His literary industry must have been great, 
as he published nearly forty works. It is not surprising 
that such a man should have been esteemed by patrons 
of learning like Richelieu and Mazarin. 

One of Amyraut's colleagues at Saumur was Josue 
de la Place (1596-1655), also a learned theologian. He 
held views of his own on original sin, arguing that 
while men bore the burden of Adam^s sin, they were 
not as responsible as if they had personally committed 
the transgression. 

Samuel Bochart (1599-1667), whose researches on 
the early peoples, places, and animals mentioned in 
Scripture are quoted to this day in commentaries, was 
a learned philologist, and much esteemed as pastor of 
the Church at Caen, in which town he suddenly died 
while speaking at the local Academy of Antiquaries. 

Etienne Gaussin, a third professor at Saumur, and 
Michel le Faucheur, left works on pulpit eloquence, 
showing how much that art was then cultivated. 

The temple at Charenton, near Paris, was as it were 
the Protestant cathedral, and in its pulpit from time 
to time appeared nearly all the more distinguished 
Huguenot preachers in France. 



This edifice, builfc by tlie Protestant architect 
Debrosse, in 1606, was a grand quadrilateral, like an 
ancient basilica, with three galleries one above another. 
It was well lighted, for it had no less than eighty-one 
windows. It could hold 14^000 persons, and must 
have required a man of powerful voice to fill it. Its 
exterior was very plain, no doubt the necessity of 
surrounding it with a high wall caused the architect 
to reserve himself for its interior, for Debrosse, 
though austere in style, as befitted a Huguenot, was a 
man of abilit}', as may be seen from the Palace of the 
Luxembourg, of which he was the architect (1615- 
]620). He also built the aqueduct of Arcueil, which 
brought the water to Paris from the village of Rungis ; 
a worthy worker, true to his interior life, comprehend- 
ing instinctively that there could be no serious art in a 
building of which the architecture was not in harmony 
with its purpose. 

Because some of the greatest works of art have been 
produced in Roman Catholic countries, people take it 
for granted that mediaeval Christianity was more 
favourable to the birth of art than the Reformed Faith. 
The great Dutch school of painting, contemporary with 
the time now before us, shows that this is an unwar- 
rantable assumption. The truth is, the existence of 
art is not dependent on any form of faith ; whatever 
is sincerely and intensely believed will attain some 
artistic expression, its nature and degree being greatly 
affected by climate, culture, and other circumstances. 
But the finest climate and the utmost culture can- 
not get art out of doubt, scepticism, or Jesuitised 

In the joy of its new-found faith. Protestantism 
gave to the most spiritual of all arts, music, a new 
life and a marvellous development, comparable to 
that which happened to painting in Catholic countries. 


tlirough tlie great movement connected with the names 
of Francis and Dominic. But Protestantismj as this 
great Dutch school proves^ not only became more than 
the foster-mother of the art of music,, but the source 
of a school which^ for interest, has no rival except 
among the early Italians. The struggle for indepen- 
dence, and the sufferings of the Anabaptists, were its 
inspiration. If Protestant France cannot be compared 
to Protestant Germany for music, or to Protestant 
Holland for painting, it must be remembered that it 
never succeeded in becoming more than a weak and 
struggling minority, and that its early guides took 
care not to allow the Anabaptist faith to make any 
"way in its Churches. Nevertheless, its intense earnest- 
ness could not fail, at the first favourable opportunity, 
to develop artists. And the greatest among them 
appeared when the springs of faith were most simply 
evangelic. French Protestantism never excelled its 
Palissy, its Goujon, and its Goudimel ; yet the line 
goes on, and in the middle of this seventeenth century 
there were quite a number of Huguenot artists. 

The career of Sebastien Bourdon (1616-1G71) shows 
the difficulties with which a Huguenot artist has to 
contend. Born at Montpellier, he entered at seven 
years of age the atelier of a painter in Paris named 
Barthelemy. At fourteen he painted a ceiling in fresco 
at a chateau near Bordeaux. He went to Toulouse, 
but not being able to earn a living, enlisted; the 
officer, however, seeing his talent, set him at liberty, 
and he made his way to Rome. Here he existed by 
making copies of the great masters for a furniture- 
broker ; threatened, however, by another painter with 
denunciation as a heretic, he fled from Rome and 
returned to Paris, where he began to paint battle- 
pieces, hunts, and landscapes. In 1605 he obtained 
a commission from the Goldsmiths' Company to paint 


a Crucifixion of Sfc. Peter. In 1648 he helped to 
found the Academy of Painting, and was appointed a 
professor. During the wars of the Fronde he went 
to Sweden, and was employed by Queen Christina. 
He returned to Paris, where he painted many large 
pictures from Scripture. 

Associated with Bourdon in founding the Academy 
of Painting were four other Protestants, Louis Elle, 
called Ferdinand, Samuel Bernard, the miniature 
painter, Louis Testelin, and Louis Dugreur. Fourteen 
other Huguenot painters became members of the 
Academy between 1648 and 1675; but in October, 
1681, eight were excluded for the crime of heresy, 
the remainder apparently declaring themselves con- 
verted, or ready to be converted, as after the Revo- 
cation of the Edict of Nantes only Catholics were 


The Peotestant Churches of Feakce no Longer 
Allowed a National Character. 


Notwithstanding the learning and virtue of their 
divines, notwithstanding the influence of the many 
eminent persons in art, in science, in the army and 
navy, and among the nobility who still avowed them- 
selves Protestant, the Reformed Churches of France 
submitted to a gradual enslavement. 

Bound by principle and tradition to the State, the 
alliance became, after the fall of La Rochelle, a new 
illustration of the fable of the wolf and the lamb. 

Their organ of action and expression was the synod, 
provincial or national. The court worked to render 


the occurrence of the latter more and more rare. Be- 
tween 1631 and 1645 three national synods were held. 
A royal commissioner was appointed to be present at 
the first, which took place at Charenton. Pastors 
and laymen were alike sad and humiliated ; they felt 
at the mercy of their adversaries. The king named 
the deputies who would be most agreeable to him, and 
the synod obeyed. Later on the king willed that 
there should be only one deputy, and this oflSce was 
finally made hereditary in the family of the Marquis 
de Ruvigny. The Reformed Churches entreated that 
they might add a deputy of the third estate, but this 
the king refused. 

Six years passed before another national synod was 
held. It took place in 1637, in the city of Alen^on, 
and on this occasion M. de Saint-Marc, the royal com- 
missioner, said: ^I am come to your synod in order 
to make known to you the will of his majesty. All 
authority is of God, and consequently on this immov- 
able foundation you are bound to obey. Moreover, 
the goodness of the king, and the care he takes of you, 
oblige you to it ; his clemency and his power are the 
firmest support you can possibly have. I don^t doubt 
that you have often reflected on the admirable provi- 
dence of God in causing the royal authority of his 
majesty to be the means of their preservation.^ The 
moderator, Basnage, replied that the Churches had 
not the least idea of departing from that submission to 
which the Word of God obliged them. 

Already forbidden by royal authority to receive the 
teaching of the Synod of Dort, they were now for- 
bidden to correspond with foreign Churches. Letters 
coming from Geneva and Holland were first opened 
by the royal commissioner, who, after he had ac- 
quainted himself with their contents, caused them to 
be read to the synod. Still more — one synod might 


not correspond witli anotlier, tlie object clearly being 
to separate tlie dying aslies as mucli as possible. 

The poor synod solaced itself by considering tlie 
slavery of the negroes. It concluded that the Word 
of God did not forbid the buying and keeping of 
slavesj but recommended the faithful not to abuse the 
privilege by selling their slaves to barbarians or to 
cruel people^ but to those who would care for their 
immortal souls and bring them up in the Christian 

At the next synod^ which took place at Charenton 
seven years later on (1644). they were pushed down 
a step lower still, the royal commissioner taking care 
to be first in complaining of the encroachments and 
usurpations of the Eeformed Churches. He then de- 
clared that it was the will of the king that they should 
exclude from the evangelic ministry all who had studied 
at Geneva, or in Holland, or in England. The battle 
of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644) had taken place 
during the previous summer, and Henrietta Maria was 
in France. 

Some deputies of the maritime provinces having 
reported that certain English Independents had estab- 
lished themselves in France, and were teaching that 
each flock had a right to govern itself, without regard- 
ing the authority of synods, the assembly enjoined the 
maritime provinces to take care that an opinion as 
prejudicial to the Church of God as it was to the State 
should not root itself in the kingdom. 

However, the success of the English Puritans, and 
the troubles of the Fronde, had a beneficial effect on 
their condition. Mazarin felt it necessary to keep on 
good terms with the Huguenots, and for a short time 
they breathed freely. The exercise of their religion 
was again permitted in places where it had been 
illegally suppressed. The Edict of Nantes was again 


confirmed m 1652, and its provisions carried out with 
some reality. 

But this relaxation in the process of garrotting 
French Protestantism, aroused the ire of the Catholic 
clergy, who bitterly complained of the oppression of 
the Catholic Church. They wished for the re-estab- 
lishment of the legitimate explanations given to the 
Edict by the late king. They mourned to see how 
the heretics had destroyed all the wise precautions that 
great prince had taken to put a barrier to their rest- 
less spirit. Some temples having been built on property 
belonging to certain ecclesiastical lords, the assembly 
of the clergy demanded their demolition, as ^syna- 
gogues of Satan, raised on the patrimony of the Son 
of God.' They hinted that the reports which the 
Huguenots presented of their injuries amounted to 
the establishment of the political assemblies forbidden 
by various edicts, and that their collections in favour 
of the Yaudois of Piedmont, who in 1655 were 
atrociously massacred by their ruler, Charles Em- 
manuel II., Duke of Savoy,^ indicated a dangerous 
plot. They also declared that in some places the 
Huguenots had again raised the fortifications, and 
that the deserters of the faith of their fathers 
aspired to the highest dignities of the State ; and in 
conclusion they made a pathetic appeal for the pro- 
tection of the king. 

Mazarin, a very inferior man to Richelieu, was 
alarmed, and the council published a declaration which 
put things back into the state in which they were in 
the days of Louis XIII. Not only was the exercise of 

1 The occasion on which Milton wrote his noble sonnet : 
' Avenge, Lord, Thy slaughtered saints.' 
A poem which shows how Puritanism, like Huguenotism, 
had drunk in the spirit of the Hebrew Psalms. 


the Protestant religion forbidden in places where it 
had been lately established, but ministers were for- 
bidden to call themselves pastors, or their flocks, 

The Edict of Nantes had mentioned by name every 
commune in which the Protestants were to have the 
right to preach ; but in their now depressed condition 
their numbers had so dwindled that there were not 
enough to support a pastor, the result being that 
several such communes united under one pastor. The 
terms of the Edict being precise as to places, the only 
objection the authorities could take was to question 
the right of any pastor to preach out of the place in 
which he was domiciled. 

The Parliaments lent themselves to the most rigorous 
interpretation of the law, and thus this pretext was 
used during forty years to suppress more and more 
Protestant preaching. The Huguenots having no 
longer any political assemblies, and the national synod 
being almost extinct, the provincial synods sent four 
deputies in 1658 to lay their troubles before the 
king. However, they got nothing but a promise that 
he would look at their report and do them justice. 
Finally he promised to observe the Edict of Nantes, 
if they rendered themselves worthy of this grace 
by their good conduct, fidelity, and affection for his 

In 1659, Louis XIV., by the treaty of the Pyrenees, 
added to his realm Roussillon, Artois, and Alsace. 
Conscious of his immense strength, he turned the last 
screw of the garrote, and the existence of Protestant 
France as a national Church ceased, except in so far 
as it was represented by a solitary courtier, the 
Marquis de Euvigny. Fifteen years had elapsed since 
a national synod had been held; one was now per- 
mitted at Loudun. On the king's side all was menace. 

THE SYNOD OF 1659. 153 

recrimination, accusation ; on the side of the Pro- 
testants all was humility, abasement, expressions of 
gratitude. The commissioner called upon them to 
admire the benignity of the king, and forbade them 
to make any complaint, declaring that it was the king 
who had the most reason to complain of them, that 
their infractions of the Edict had even reached a 
supreme degree of insolence, for they had recommenced 
preaching in Languedoc and elsewhere after it was 
forbidden, a charge which had been made fifteen years 
before at Chareuton, showing that they could not find 
a single new pretext for reproach. 

The moderator, Jean Daille, replied in a submissive 
voice : ' We receive with all respect and all possible 
humility all that which has been said to us on the 
part of his majesty.' In return, the commissioner 
pressed the synod to close its sittings quickly, and 
plainly told them this would be the last synod per- 
mitted. ^ The expense is too great,' said the repre- 
sentative of a king who could waste millions on an 
ugly and useless palace ; ^ besides, you have provincial 
synods, which meet annually, and can do what is 

Daille replied that they hoped the king would not 
deprive them of his liberalities, but as the synod was 
an absolute necessity, they would gladly support all its 
expenses themselves. They finally resolved, subject 
to the good pleasure of his majesty, that they would 
hold another synod at Mmes in 1662. 

But Louis XIV. refused absolutely to allow it. The 
national synod of 1659 was last held by permission of 
authority. Sixty-six years passed before another was 
held, and then it was in secret, in the Desert, under 
the heaviest penalties. 



Further Inroads on Huguenot Liberty. 

After Henry lY. tlie Huguenots never had better 
masters than tlie cardinals Riclielieu and Mazarin. 
When the latter died, in 16G1, the ministers asked 
Louis XIV. to whom they should go. ^ To ??ie/ replied 
the king. 

Persecution at once increased. Commissioners were 
named to inquire strictly in each province into the 
violations of the Edict of Nantes. To a great Catholic 
official, powerful at court, was joined some unknown 
Calvinist, who was occasionally a traitor. Of course 
the Protestant cause was generally found a delinquent. 
Among other things, the commissioners were to verify 
the right of public worship. Many churches had 
never had legal documents, or had lost them ; the con- 
sequence was that services were interdicted, temples 
pulled down, schools suppressed, and charities confis- 
cated to Catholic uses. 

In 1663, the clergy, on the application of its assem- 
bly-general, obtained a law pronouncing the penalty 
of banishment on all who returned to the Reformed 
communion after having once abjured it. They could 
not, it was said, claim the benefit of the Edict of 
Nantes, as they had renounced it, and returning to 
heresy, they were guilty of profaning the holy mys- 
teries of the Catholic religion. The law was suspended 
during the next year; it was probably found that 
banishment was losing its terrors, even for Frenchmen. 

In 1665, an ordinance of the council authorized 
cures, accompanied by a magistrate, to go to houses 
where there were any sick people, and to ask them if 
they wished to die heretics, or to be converted to the 
true religion. 


By a decree of tlie 24tli of October^ 1665, cliildren 
were declared capable of embracing Catholicisra, boys 
at fourteen years of age, girls at twelve; and the 
parents were to pay for tbeir support away from home. 
The bishops, not satisfied with this, complained that 
the age was far too high, children must be allowed to 
enter the Catholic Church as soon as they expressed 
the wish. To this the Government practically said, 'Do 
as you will.^ There were soon many juvenile abjura- 
tions; and when the parents sought justice in the courts, 
claiming that the children were not legally entitled to 
abjure, the lawyers proved that there was a great differ- 
ence between inducing a child to change its religion, 
and the Church opening her arms to receive it when it 
presented itself by a sort of inspiration from heaven. 

The desire to serve one's country as a public official is 
a legitimate, and may be a noble ambition; the Hugue- 
nots keenly felt their exclusion from this career. 
Colbert, however, finding it indispensable to have 
honest men in the Treasury, opened its doors to the 
Huguenots. There was some precedent for it in the 
fact that under Mazarin, a German Protestant, Bar- 
thelemy Her ward, had been appointed superintendent 
of the finances and maintained there, notwithstanding 
clerical opposition. But of course the chief reason 
that enabled Colbert to act as he did, was that he 
was himself absolutely indispensable to Louis XIV., as 
the man who supplied all the money for his ambitious 
wars. Thus the Huguenots came into the Treasury, 
and, by their power of organization, econom}^, and 
probity, ' became the most reliable farmers and com- 
missioners of the taxes it was possible for Colbert to 
find. One immediate effect was the rise in public 
esteem of the whole service; and though it was the 
age of Moliere, La Fontaine, and Boileau, the Treasury 
officials were never satirised. 


Shut out from all other public offices, refused ad- 
mission into the municipal magistracy, the Protestants 
gave themselves up to trade and manufactures, to 
agriculture and the arts. Their lives were passed 
under an irritating and pettifogging tyranny. If a 
procession passed their temples when they were sing- 
ings they were compelled to leave off. They must 
bury their dead at break of day or at dusk, and only 
ten persons might follow, except in certain cities, 
where thirty were permitted. They could only marry 
at times fixed by the canons of the Roman Catholic 
Church, and the nuptial procession might not, in pass- 
ing through the streets, relatives included, number 
more than twelve persons. Rich Churches might not 
support the ministers of poorer ones, besides other 
injurious restrictions. 

This sure and steady process of slow starvation did 
not, however, satisfy eager spirits like that of the 
Bishop of Uzes, who in the General Assembly of the 
clergy, in 1665, declared to the king that it was 
needful to work with more ardour, in order to cause 
this terrible monster of heresy to yield up its last 
breath. He asked that henceforth no one should be 
allowed to go out of the Roman Church, adding 
that twenty-two dioceses in Languedoc had demanded 
this law of the provincial states, and that all the 
dioceses of the kingdom were ready to seal it with 
their blood. 

This proposal was not carried out ; but next year an 
enormous concession was made to the clergy, for all 
the judgments which had been given in individual 
cases were embodied into a general law, thus rendering 
perpetual the various successful efforts made to restrain 
the liberties granted by the Edict of Nantes. This 
was the commencement of the emigration, and of the 
great sympathy which more and more manifested itself 


in foreign countries. The Elector of Brandenburg 
made representatious on behalf of the oppressed 
Huguenots. England and Sweden also manifested 
their interest. The result was that niue of the articles 
in this new law were suppressed and twenty-one 


The Huguenots and the King. 

Unbelief and despotism^ faith and liberty — these two 
sets of parents make opposing worlds. Protestantism 
was born of the latter, and was, therefore, always 
inimical to, and hated by, the former. In France the 
world formed by unbelief and despotism grew stronger 
through every decade of this seventeenth century. In 
the last quarter of this period it reached maturity, and 
exhibited fruits which render its history one of the 
saddest, but, at the same time, one of the most instruc- 
tive pages in history. Let us not think that we can 
afford to be ignorant of its warnings. The Apostle 
Paul, than whom none knew better that the world had 
outlived the Mosaic economy, said, referring to some 
of the facts of its history : ' These thiugs were written 
for our instruction, on whom the ends of the world are 

This terrible despotism was able to impose itself on 
France, and to reach such a point because it was in 
harmony with public opinion. Everybody, from the 
beggar to the prince, believed in it. Even the bulk 
of the Protestants conceived it their highest earthly 
duty, as well as their greatest earthly advantage, to be 
employed in maintaining this despotism. What was 
the object of Louis Fourteenth's wars but to establish 
this despotism over Europe ? And every victory he 


gained enabled liim to tread more heavily on the nccl: 
of France^ and crush without fear the last breath frori 
the Huguenot Churches, prostrate and dying. Ard 
yet the Reformed Churches of France duly returned 
thanks for those victories in their temples. It was as 
if the children of Ahaz had returned thanks to Jehovah 
for the triumphs of the idol at whose shrine they were 
about to be sacrificed. 

There was it would seem hardly anything the 
Huguenots felt more than to be shut out of the public 
offices, nothing which their historians record with 
more pleasure than the way Colbert filled the finance 
department with Protestants, and maintained them 
there as long as he lived. It never seems to have 
occurred to the Huguenots, or even to their modern 
historians, that they were devoting all their virtue and 
all their pains to strengthening the system which was 
steadily crushing out the only cause worth living for — 
the cause of the kingdom of heaven. The reflection, 
obvious enough now, that all their savings only helped 
Louis to slaughter, to waste more money in his lusts 
and follies, does not appear to have crossed their minds. 
Colbert saw it at last, could not escape from it, and it 
killed him. But the Huguenot officials went on like a 
hive of busy bees making* honey for the wasps, until 
the latter, unable to restrain themselves any longer, 
drove out all the bees and ate up all the honey. 

This universal blindness is Louis Fourteenth's best 
excuse. ^ He was deified,^ says St. Simon, ' in the 
midst of Christianity.'' A statue was erected to him 
in the Place des Yictoires, with the inscription, Yiro 
Immortali. Says the great Jurieu in his noble work, 
TJiG 8iglis of Enslaved France : ^ The King of France 
believes himself tied to no laws. He is persuaded 
that his will is the law of right and wrong, and that he 
is answerable to God alone. He is absolute master 


of tlie life^ liberty, persons,, goods, religion, aucl con- 
science of his subjects/ 

Bossuet and Louis XIV. were entirely in accord on 
the absolute authority which kings have over their 
subjects; but there was one point where Bossuet 
stopped — he did not admit the right of the king over 
private property. 

Louis made no such reserve, 

' All/ he said, ^ which is found in the whole extent 
o£ our states, of whatever nature it may be, belongs 
to us by the same title. The moneys in our privy 
purse, those which remain in the hands of our trea- 
surers, and iliose that lue leave in the commerce of our 
people, ought to be equally looked after by us. Kings 
are absolute lords, and have naturally the full and free 
disposition of all the goods which are possessed as well 
by Churchmen as by the laity, for use at any time 
according to the general want.' 


Public Opinion and the Huguenots. 

To comprehend the story before us, it is necessary to 
understand the nature of the public opinion which 
could glory in such a monarch, while it pursued with 
unrelenting animosity the small section of the popula- 
tion who would not prostrate themselves at full length 
before the colossal idol the followers of Macchiavelli 
and of Loyola had combined to set up. 

Bossuet's opinions may be taken as those of the 
French clergy. With him they embraced the whole 
sphere of things, with them they centred on the one 
subject that engaged their thoughts — the absolute, un- 
questioned supremacy of the Church. ' The one source 
of all our misfortunes,' said the Bishop of Valence to 


an assembly of clergy ia 1685, 'is, as you know, my 
lords, lieresy. The destruction of heresy is our one 
business. Until now it has been very difficult, but 
now nothing escapes the zeal, penetration, and under- 
standing of the king. However, as the malice of 
heretics is unbounded, there are many things the 
heart of a kiug so good and so generous has not been 
able to discover. There are many enterprises yet to 
repress. But this ought to console us ; we are assured 
of success.^ 

Madame de Sevigne is one of the best representa- 
tives of ' Society ' in the age of Louis XIV. To 
genius and good-humour she added such virtue as to 
appear quite a paragon among her contemporaries. 
Nevertheless she thinks it an honour to be a partner 
with the sharpest hand at the king^s gambling-table 
and to chat with the king's mistress ; while of the 
Huguenots she speaks as ' those demons,^ ' those 
wretched Huguenots, who come out of their holes to 
pray to God, and who disappear like ghosts directly 
you seek them and want to exterminate them.' She 
expresses herself with her usual vivacity on the 
Dragonnades, which evidently met with her approval. 
' The dragoons have been very good missionaries until 
now; the preachers' (Bourdaloue, etc.) Hhat are going 
to be immediately sent will render the work perfect.' 
What she and her correspondent, the Comte de Bussy 
Rabutin, thought of the king and the Huguenots 
comes out in the following extract from a letter 
addressed to her by the comte soon after the Revo- 
cation of the Edict of Nantes : ' I admire the way the 
king has managed the ruin of the Huguenots. He 
had undermined this sect by degrees, and the edict he 
has just given, sustained by dragoons and Bourdaloues, 
will be their coxij) de grace.'' 

If it is sad to find persons like Bossuet and 


Madame de Sevigne sharing in and doing their very 
best to form the horrible public opinion of the day, 
it is still sadder when we come to find the people 
themselves animated by it^ and making themselves its 

It is true there have been times and occasions when 
the masses of the people have raged against the 
preachers of the Gospel, and joined in their persecu- 
tion, but it has only been for a time ; it has almost 
always ended in the people returning to the attitude 
in which they received it from the Lord Himself. 
But here we find the persecution persistent, and 
unprovoked by anything in the way of preaching ; for 
a Huguenot pastor could not preacli outside a temple. 

No doubt fanaticism had much to do with it, and 
example still more ; but this would hardly explain the 
antipathy the people displayed in not only enduring 
unmoved the ever-increasing cruelty and injustice 
with which the Huguenots were treated, but in giving 
that cruelty and injustice their help and support. 

Abraham Bosse's engravings show us how pro- 
sperous the Huguenots were, how they dwelt in a 
Land of Goshen. But we hardly need proof of the 
fact : a religious, industrious people, holding together, 
must become rich ; it is the universal law. In this 
case it was rendered more certain by the fact that 
the Calvinist Churclies were chiefly recruited from the 
trading classes in the towns. The sight of this pro- 
sperity, in the midst of so much misery, could not fail 
to arouse envy, suspicion, hatred. The disabilities 
under whicli the Huguenots laboured, and a great 
lacuna in the creed upon which their character was 
formed, led tliem into positions which gave ground 
for dislike, and intensified the popular disfavour. 
Excluded from all the learned professions and all 
the public offices, they were necessarily drivon into 



buying and selling the ordinary commodities of life^ or_, 
if capitalists, of dealing in money. The Reformers, 
early accused of Antinomianism^ had made much of 
the moral law ; but it was that of the Old Testament 
rather than the New. The Sermon on the Mount, 
which was the true antidote to the snares and temp- 
tations of such a position, had far from an adequate 
place in Calvinistic theology. It is easy to see how a 
people thus situated must necessarily play the part of 
Pharaoh's fat kine, a law only to be avoided by their 
obedience to the laws of the kingdom of heaven. 

The unpopularity brought about by this condition 
of things must have been further aggravated by the 
way in which Huguenots assisted Colbert in wringing 
the taxes out of the people. This eminent statesman, 
by the force of his violent will and his tremendous 
energy, galvanised France, and made it for a few 
years a Titan in war and commerce. Holland and 
England were becoming plethoric with wealth gained 
by their world-embracing marine. France should 
have the same, should share with these powers the 
commerce of the globe. Colbert did what he deter- 
mined. In four years he had built seventy men-of- 
war, in six years he had a fleet of 194 ships. To man 
it, all sailors were declared to belong to the king, so 
that they could at any time be impressed, and made to 
serve on board the royal navy. But the creation of 
this fleet was not the end ; it was a means to seize 
and maintain a commerce which had to be created. 
Colbert invited new industries into France, and to 
give them a chance of rooting, he passed prohibitory 
duties on English and Dutch linens and cloths. In 
three or four years wool alone kept 44,000 looms 
going. An enormous development of trade suddenly 
took place in Lyons, and great fortunes were made. 
Still further, to give life and impetus to this impro- 


vised commerce, colonies were bouglit, commercial 
companies started, something like chambers of com-= 
merce instituted, and roads constructed. 

For all these things immense sums of money were 
wanted, and how to force it out of a people starving 
and impoverished was the great question. Perhaps it 
might have been comparatively easy if Colbert had 
been king, and his work only one of peace and the 
development of trade ; but there were Louis XIV. and 
Louvois, with their great wars and enormous armies ; 
there was a vast body of idle nobility wasting their 
lives and their goods at court ; there were myriads of 
priests and nuns who had to live, and added nothing 
to the general wealth. To sustain all this expense 
and all this waste, Colbert became a tyrant. The laws 
gave him thirty or forty means of raising money. In 
the expressive language of Jurieu, ^ A thousand 
channels were open by which he could draw the blood 
of the people.^ ' France,^ said the same writer, ' pays 
200,000,0001 taxes. All the rest of the rulers in 
Europe, Spain, England, Sweden, Denmark, the em- 
peror and all the German and Italian princes, the 
republics of Holland and Venice, do not altogether 
get as much out of their subjects.^ For nowhere 
else was such a rack-rent system attempted. It was 
worked by farmers-general, who were responsible for 
the taxes of a district. In the villages the taxes were 
collected by the notables, who were made answerable 
in their own persons and property, and who, when they 
attempted the collection, were obliged to go about 
in a body, or they would have been stoned. In the 
end the people were robbed of everything, furniture, 
cattle, money, corn, wine ; the prisons were full. 

^ Jurieu no doubt means livres. The livre tournois was the 
unit of the French monetary system, and was worth a trifle 
more than a frauc. 


Colbert died cursed by the people. It troubled him 
as he lay on his death-bed. ^ Had 1/ he said, ^ done for 
God what I have done for this man ' (Louis XIV.), ^I 
should be sure of being saved, but now I know not 
where I am goiug.' The Huguenots were, as we have 
stated, his best assistants. * They entered,' says Elie 
Benoit, ' into the farms and the commissions, and ren- 
dered themselves so necessary in affairs of this kind 
that Fouquet, even as well as Colbert, could not do 
without them. 

No doubt, whatever there was of justice, humanity, 
disinterestedness was found among the Huguenot 
officials ; but the people could not distinguish one from 
another. The system was so terribly oppressive that 
a single clerk of the taxes appeared many times more 
a worse foe than a sea of 40,000 leagues with its 
pirates and its storms. 


The Conversion and Jubilee op the King Inaugurate 

A New Series of Persecutions. 

This glance at public opinion in France during the 
later half of the seventeenth century will enable us 
better to understand the persistent persecution with 
which the Protestants were pursued, a persecution 
tending more and more to extermination. The very 
existence of a people claiming the right to think 
differently from the king on the most important of all 
questions was a menace to absolute authority, and 
thus for political reasons there had been this persis- 
tent persecution from the accession of Louis XIII. in 
IGIO, to the jubilee of Louis XIV. in 1676. But when 
in that year, owing to the so-called conversion of the 
king, religious motives were added to political ones, 



the persecution took a more exterminatory form, and 
did not cease until it seemed to have extirpated 
Calvinism to its very roots. 

The conversion of the king to exterior morality and 
religion is attributed to his last mistress and second 
wife, Madame de Maintenon, a grand-daughter of the 
great Agrippa d'Aubigne, who through the miserable 
character of her father was brought up in a convent 
and made a Catholic. Her influence over the king 
exceeded that exercised by any other person in the 
whole of his career, for she was a very serious person, 
and knew how to affect his conscience. She must 
therefore bear with his other intimate advisers — his 
confessor, Pere la Chaise ; his chancellor, Le Tellier ; 
and his minister, Louvois, — the blame of all the fright- 
ful iniquity which now ensued. 

Perhaps it was the ability the Huguenots had dis- 
played in the management of the royal finances that 
induced the king and his council to believe that they 
were specially devoted to money-making, and might 
easily be bought if each man was duly paid his price. 
To this good work Louis determined to consecrate a 
third of his savings, as well as the proceeds of all the 
benefices that fell iu, the temporals of which he took 
until the see was filled up. A bank was opened, and 
Pellison, a new convert to the king's religion, was 
appointed its director. It had its agents all over the 
provinces, and a regular system of business. No 
more than a hundred francs a head was to be given, 
and less in the general way. More might, however, 
be granted in special cases, if explained to his majesty, 
and he should judge it advisable. PeUison soon pre- 
sented a list of eight hundred converts; the miracle 
was trumpeted forth in the gazettes. But ere long it 
had to be whispered to the king that he was being 
duped, that the people bought were rogues. Where- 


upon Louis enacted that the rogues should not escape 
the chance of being reformed by Catholic discipline, 
for any relapse back again into Protestantism was to 
be punished with perpetual banishment and confis- 
cation of goods. 

Bribery having failed, Louis reverted to force. It 
was soon understood throughout the official world that 
there was no better way to please the king than to 
assist him in his great work of extirpating heresy from 
France ; and very soon every one in authority began to 
enter into this congenial line of converting the Hugue- 
nots by force. One civil right after another was taken 
away ; they were attacked in their tenderest points — 
family life and religious worship. The chambers of 
the Edict in Paris and Rouen were suppressed in 1669, 
and the mixed chambers in the Parliaments of Toulouse, 
Grenoble, and Bordeaux in 1679. The provincial par- 
liaments had long distinguished themselves by the 
severity with which they carried out all the cruel laws 
against heresy. In 1664, Elie Saurin, the Protestant 
theologian, passed the ^ holy sacrament ^ without raising 
his hat. He was condemned by the Grenoble Parliament 
to be conducted in his shirt, barefooted, a lighted 
candle weighing two pounds in his hand, and a halter 
round his neck, to the principal door of the chief church 
in Embrun, and there to declare that he had foolishly 
and audaciously passed before the holy sacrament of 
the altar without raising his hat, that he repented of it, 
and asked pardon of God, the king, and the court, 
after which he was to be banished in perpetuity. 

During the next year a man of high Catholic family, 
Louis Rambard, spoke against the holy sacrament, but 
consenting to remain Catholic, he was not then pro- 
ceeded against. Ten years elapsed, and he became a 
Protestant, whereupon this same Parliament of Grenoble 
sentenced him to all the indignities they proposed for 


Saurin, and in addition to have his tongue cut out, 
then to be hanged and strangled until natural (6*ic) 
death ensued, when his body was to be burnt and his 
ashes scattered to the winds. He was to pay 1,000 
livres to buy a silver lamp for the Church of Die, and 
500 more to buy a piece of ground to maintain it ; in 
addition he was to give 1,000 livres to repair the said 
church, and fifty livres fine to the king to pay the 
cost of his trial. Rambard was able to escape to 
Geneva, and so to evade his cruel persecutors; but the 
extreme barbarity of the sentence shows how much the 
Protestants lost by the suppression of the mixed cham- 
bers in which they were represented. 

Children were carried off as early as 1676. By an 
edict of June 17th, 1684, it was ordained that any 
child over seven years of age could abjure the pre- 
tended Reformed religion, and embrace that of the 
Church of Rome, its parents not being allowed to 
prevent it on any pretext whatsoever, but were 
required all the same to provide for its maintenance. 
The slightest act was sufficient as sign of adhesion. 
Children were torn from their parents, especially from 
the rich, who could pay a good sum for board, and 
were then shut up in a convent or a monastery. Parents, 
it appears, tried to save their little ones by sending 
them out of the country ; a law was enacted forbidding 
this to be done before a child was sixteen years of age. 
AH illegitimate children, of whatever sex or condition, 
were to be brought up as Catholics ; and this law being 
retrospective, persons of sixty or eighty years of age 
who had had the misfortune to come into the world 
under these conditions were now summoned to enter 
the Church of Rome. In pursuance of this war on 
Huguenot domestic life, Protestants were forbidden to 
marry Catholics, or to become guardians or trustees 
even to their nearest relatives. They were not allowed 


to have Catholics for valets^ and then by a contradic- 
tory law they were to have none but Catholics. 

In order to entice into abjuration those who were 
deeply in debt, a law was made granting a delay of 
payment for three years to the newly converted, the 
main inconvenience falling, it is natural to suppose, on 
their Huguenot friends. Another bribe held out was 
remission of the taxes for two years to the newly con- 
verted; those remaining recalcitrant paying double 
the usual rate, in order that the treasury might not 
lose by its generosity. 

Medical men, surgeons, and others attending the 
sick, were ordered, under a heavy penalty, to give notice 
to the magistrates of a district, who were bound to 
pay domiciliary visits, in order to ask sick persons if 
they wished to abjure. 

8uch was the activity of the legists in these days 
that between the year 1660 and October, 1685, there 
were fulminated in France 309 orders, declarations, 
and edicts against the Huguenots. The pastors were 
more and more hampered, until the moment came 
for putting an end to their work ; meanwhile they 
were not allowed to complain of the sadness of the 
times. They were obliged to live six leagues from any 
place where worship was interdicted, and at least 
three from any place where it was contested. No 
gatherings were to take place in the temples under 
pretext of prayers and singing psalms, except at the 
accustomed hours. No convert to Catholicism was to 
be received into a temple under pain of banishment 
and conliscation of goods for the pastor, and interdic- 
tion of all religious worship for the flock. Under this 
law it was very easy to demolish a temple and destroy 
religious worship, as, for example, at Montpellier, where 
a young girl named Isabeau Paulet, who had escaped 
from a convent, where they had not succeeded in con- 


verting her, entered the temple unknown to the pastor, 
in consequence of which the Parb'ament of Toulouse 
interdicted him from ever again exercising his ministry, 
abolished the evangelic worship in Montpellier, and 
ordered the demolition of the temple in a fortnight 
(1682). The demolition of temples went on every- 
where. In 1664, one of the temples of Nimes was thus 
pulled down, as well as those of Grenoble, Montauban, 
Montagnac, Alencon, and one hundred and fifty-two 
churches of Lower Languedoc, of the Upper Ce venues, 
and Provence. In the diocese of Valence, twenty-four 
were destroyed in two years. In 1684, in the Dauphine 
alone, twenty-four churches were suppressed by an 
order in council. Between 1660 and 1684 no less 
than 570 Protestant temples were closed or demolished 
in France, just upon two-thirds of the whole number 
the Reformed Churches possessed. The destruction of 
some of these places was accompanied by popular 
violence, as at Blois and AlenQon, where the mob 
rushed into the temples, tore up the books, the seats, 
and the pulpit, and then burnt them. 

Nor was it only their temples of which they were 
deprived : colleges, academies, hospitals, shared the 
same fate. The academy at Nimes was suppressed in 
1664, and that of Sedan in 1681. The ruin of that of 
Montauban had been effected soon after 1661. Those 
of Die, Saumur, and Puylaurens, were all condemned 
in 1684, the property of the first named being made 
over to the Hospital de la Croix. In a similar way 
the furniture of the Protestant hospital at Nimes was 
in 1667 handed over to the Catholic hospital, and the 
building turned into an orphan asylum for Catholics 
or those who desired to become such. 

Louis XIV., in fact, boldly illustrated his theory of 
the right of the crown to dispose of everything in 
France according to his view of the general want. 


All the funds for the support of the Protestant poor 
were seized, and the recipients sent to the Catholic 
hospitals. Legacies to consistories were also annulled. 

In fact, these bodies could no longer meet, except in 
the presence of a royal commissioner, the business 
they had to transact being about the most doleful 
possible, since it consisted in the receipt of orders, 
proclamations, edicts, each registering another step in 
ruin. Sometimes they had to receive the intendant of 
the province, accompanied by a retinue of officers and 
priests, and humbly listen to his orders. Sometimes 
they had to appease tumults rising among their long- 
suffering people ; and all through they were themselves 
split into fractions, whose alienation grew every day 
in intensity. 

Sometimes they sought spiritual strength and con- 
solation by a day of fasting and prayer. Thus the 
Synod of Lower Languedoc assembled at Uzes in 
May, 1669, composed of seventy pastors and fifty-three 
elders, and after having meditated on the evils of the 
time, they celebrated, ^ in order to appease the anger 
of God, which,^ they conceived, ^ weighed burning and 
terrible on the Churches,^ an extraordinary fast, during 
which they listened to four successive sermons. At 
the conclusion of this austere service, the members of 
the assembly gave each other the kiss of peace and 
the right hand of fellowship, commending each other 
to God and the Word of His grace. 


The Booted Mission. 

Louvois, annoyed to find that with the cessation of 
war and the rise of Madame de Maintenon his in- 
fluence with the king had ceased, determined to throw 


liimself into the movement o£ the day^ the conversion 
of Huguenots^ and thereupon organized what is now 
known as la mission hottee — the booted mission. 

In his capacity of war minister he had the control 
of the troops, and accordingly he sent a regiment of 
cavalry into Poitou, with orders to Marillac, the inten- 
dantj to quarter the greater number on the Protestants. 
' Where/ he said, ^ by a fair division the religionaries 
should have ten, you can give them twenty .■* Marillac 
entered into the spirit of his orders, for he marched as 
if he were in a hostile country, causing his troops to 
collect all the arrears of the taxes, exempting converts 
and throwing the whole burden on those who obsti- 
nately adhered to their religion. About four to ten 
dragoons were lodged in each Protestant home, with 
orders not to kill their victims, but to do everything 
they possibly could to wrest from them an abjuration. 
Their amusements were from their own point of view 
as blasphemous as they were cruel, for to make them 
kiss the cross they tied it to their mouths, or dug them 
Avith it under the ribs ; they struck the children with 
their canes or the flat of their swords or the butt end 
of their muskets, and that in so violent a manner as 
sometimes to lame the victim. They flogged the 
women with whips, or struck them in their faces with 
their canes ; they dragged them through the mud by 
the hair of their head ; they tore the labourers from 
their ploughs, and drove them to church with their 
own ox-goads. 

Many felt these things beyond endurance, and 
determined to quit France. Thousands of Huguenot 
families emigrated ; what, however, most alarmed the 
government was the flight of a great number of the 
sailors, who went off en masse. The intendants were 
ordered to desist, and the laws against emigration 
were put into vigorous execution : penal servitude for 


life on the galleys to heads of families flyings a fine of 
3,000 livres to all who helped them to do so, while all 
contracts entered into by emigrants for a twelvemonth 
previous to their departure were annulled. 

During the years that elapsed between the first 
Dragonnades and the Revocation, every man had to 
choose between life and all he held dear and his con- 
science; there was no escape. Pilate, when he saw 
Jesus Christ at his bar, when he beheld that face on 
which the most virulent could discern no trace of evil, 
Pilate when he heard the cry, ' Crucify Him ! crucify 
Him ! ^ could not help exclaiming, ^ Why, what evil 
hath He done ? ' so all Europe in astonishment and 
pity must have exclaimed as they heard of this atro- 
cious persecution. 

^ Are we,' cried Jurieu, in 1683, ^ Turks? Are we 
infidels ? We believe in Jesus Christ ; we believe in 
the eternal Son of God, the Redeemer of the world ; 
the maxims of our morality are of a purity so great 
that none would dare to deny them ; we respect 
kings; we are good subjects, good citizens; we are 
French as much as we are reformed Christians.' 

The Protestants continued to send up the story 
of their sufferings to the court, the privy council, 
to the king himself. Ruvigny, their deputy-general, 
represented to Louis the great misery of two millions 
of his subjects. The king, it is said, answered, 
that to recall all his subjects to Catholic unity, he 
would give one of his arms, or with one hand cut off 
the other. 

Was this fanaticism ? Was it not rather the Ahab- 
spirit on the grandest scale ? As long as that little 
Huguenot garden of herbs existed outside the Ludo- 
vican Church and State, Europe itself would not have 
made Louis happy. To the camarilla about him the 
ruin of the French Naboth brought literally results 


similar in kind to those attending the fate of the 
Hebrew prototype. 

' I beg you/ writes Madame de Maintenon (Septem- 
ber 2nd, 1681) to her brother, who was about to receive 
a gratuity of 800,000 livres, ^ to employ advanta- 
geously the money ^ow. are going to have. The estates 
in Poitou are going for nothing, the desolation of the 
Huguenots will make them go on selling. You will 
be able with ease to establish yourself grandly in 


Some Huguenots Attempt to Appeal to the 
Conscience of Feance. 

We have already noted the contradictory law about 
valets; in 1683 similarly opposing enactments were 
published concerning the attendance of Catholics in 
Protestant temples ; by an ordinance of the 8tli of 
March, ministers who received a Catholic into the 
pretended Keformed religion, or suffered them to 
attend the temples and listen to sermons, were con- 
demned to perpetual banishment from France, with 
confiscation of all their property. On the 20th of 
May following appeared a declaration, ordering that 
there should be an allotted place in the temples where 
Catholics could sit, who out of zeal for the increase of 
religion desired to attend the sermons. 

In both instances the cause of the contradictory law 
was plaiuj the government wished to organise a system 
of espionage. Here was the commencement of another 
series of persecutions, more desolating, more unendur- 
able than any that had yet occurred. 

Have we not noted again and again in history, how, 
in the darkest moment of peril to a downtrodden and 


oppressed people, the appearance of a man of great 
heart and boundless faith puts into them new courage, 
and they go forth resolute to endure and perhaps to 
conquer ? God sends a man before them, and by his 
aid they are, at least for a time, sustained, and every 
such gasp is an assurance that they will weather the 
storm, and finally overcome the adversary. So at this 
time appears on the stage a man who, with Jurieu, 
carries on the great traditions of the Calvinist Churches 
of France. 

Claude Brousson was born at Nimes in 1647. The 
son of a tradesman, he was trained for the bar, and 
became an avocat in the mixed chamber of Castres, 
which he followed to Toulouse. For twenty years he 
had shown himself the disinterested protector of the 
poor, and the zealous defender of the oppressed 
Churches. And now that they were absolutely over- 
whelmed and in danger of total extinction, this man 
of faith risks all, that he may place himself at the 
post of danger, by becoming their advocate before the 
king, court, and country. He was a man of faith, of 
prayer, and a believer in the human conscience. He 
felt that in Louis XIV., in the governors, in the 
magistrates, in the Catholic people of France, there 
was a power to which he could appeal that would be 
on the side of the oppressed, and he was determined 
to risk all to compel them to listen to that still small 

On the 3rd of May, 1683, sixteen representatives of 
the Churches in Languedoc, the Cevennes, the Yivarais 
and Dauphine, met in Claude Brousson's house in 
Toulouse, to consider what they should do. It was 
resolved to show Louis and all France that they and 
their cause were not dead, by the simultaneous gathering 
of the interdicted Churches in their accustomed places 
of worship, and where the temples had been destroyed. 


in some place sufficiently out of the way to give no occa- 
sion of offence, and yet not so hidden but that all might 
know that a religious assembly had taken place. 

Unhappily the great trials through which the 
Churches had passed had developed two characters : 
the zealots, who were ready for any enterprise, and 
the timid and politic, who yielded point after point 
until at last they yielded themselves. This party con- 
sidered the Toulouse resolution rash, and would have 
nothing to do with it. 

On the day appointed, several meetings took place 
over the country, but Louvois prepared beforehand, 
sent his soldiers, and the peasants fled into the woods, 
where they were killed by hundreds. It was a 
butchery, not a fight, says Rulhieres. The temples in 
which the victims had worshipped were destroyed and 
their houses razed. Those who had yielded on the offer 
of pardon, on condition of abjuring, were hanged. 

In the Vivarais the people thus attacked themselves 
took arms. Louvois promised an amnesty if they 
would lay them down, but he excepted all the ministers, 
besides fifty other prisoners, as well as all those he 
sent to the galleys. One aged pastor, Isaac Homel, 
an old man of seventy-two, he broke alive on the wheel 
(Oct. 16th, 1683). 

Meanwhile some thirty pastors and lay deputies 
arrived from Lower Languedoc at Nimes, desiring to 
hold a colloquy ; but the Nimois consistory, led by the 
pastors Cheiron and Paulhan, and the deacon Saint 
Comes, refused to agree to such a course, whereupon 
the others determined to ask permission of the tem- 
porary commandant of the province, who, however, 
absolutely refused to allow them to assemble as synod 
or colloquy under pain of being criminally pursued as 
guilty of lese-majesty and as disturbers of the public 


The deputies^ however^ had come to Nimes to hold 
an assembly, and were not to be moved from their 
purpose ; so they held it secretly at the house of a 
dealer in muslins, named Vincent, on the night of the 
2nd and ord of October. Burning with indignation 
at the wrongs they were suffering, and the impossibility 
of making their voice heard, they determined on nothing 
less tlian a revolt. Their project was to seize the city 
with the aid of the Cevennols, who they knew only 
waited the signal to rise. 

But, as is so often the case in these projects born 
of over-powering passion, they were betrayed. The 
authorities at once arranged for the arrest of the con- 
spirators, but before they attempted to do so, they 
sent to the commandant for some troops. These 
troops two important personages in Nimes went to 
meet, but encountering a horseman on their route, 
they took him for a scout of the approaching dra- 
goons, and asked him how far his companions were off. 
The horseman, who was a Nimois Huguenot belong- 
ing to the party of resistance, recognised his my- 
sterious interrogators, and putting spurs to his horse 
arrived in time to warn his friends of their peril. It 
was evening, and raining in torrents, so that the in- 
culpated parties were able to leave their respective 
homes and find hiding-places without being observed. 

When the Duke of Noailles arrived with his regi- 
ment, and found himself unable to capture any of the 
leaders, he caused the city gates to be closed, and 
forbade any inhabitant under pain of death and the 
demolition of his house to give shelter to any of the 
proscribed. Those who were open to the threatened 
penalty were in terror, and some thought to denounce 
their guests. Among the latter were those in whose 
house Claude Brousson had taken refuge ; however, 
they ended by begging him to leave. He wandered 


about for two days and two nights^ biding bimself in 
obscure boles and corners^ almost paralysed by tbe 
cold, and dying of bunger, tracked by tbe watcb, ar- 
rested, interrogated, and miraculously allowed to go. 
At last be noticed tbe orifice of tbe main sewer, wbicb 
was in tbe principal street of tbe town, just opposite 
tbe Jesuits' College. He lost no time in descending, 
and creeping as well as be could tbrougb tbe black 
and foetid mud, be reacbed, after many difficulties, 
tbe ditcb outside tbe city walls, from wbence be got 
into tbe open country, and in tbe end arrived safely in 


The Second Deagonnades. 

We bave seen bow tbe flame of piety, burning low, it 
may be, in tbe time of tbeir prosperity, bad daring 
tbese days of affliction risen bigber and bigber. Tbe 
destruction of tbe temples, tbe interdiction of public 
worsbip, only served to increase tbe ardour witb wbicb 
tbey ^ longed for tbe courts of tbe Lord,' so tbat in 
some provinces people walked fifty or sixty leagues to 
attend public worsbip. Tbe temples, now so scarce, 
became centres of mass-meetings, tbe first comers 
occupyiug tbe building, wbile vast numbers remained 
witbout holding a common worsbip ; for tbe pastors, 
not being able to take a part, it was confined to sing- 
ing psalms and reading prayers. At nigbt, bowever, 
tbeir ministers stole among tbem, exborting tbem witb 
tears to remain firm in tbe faitb. Sometimes it 
happened tbat tbe worshippers found themselves con- 
fronted witb a new edict from the authorities, as at 
Marennes, in Saintonge, where, in extremely rough 
weather, some ten thousand people bad arrived one 



Sunday, in 168 A, to celebrate Divine worship in their 
temple. The building, capable of holding 14,000 
people, was found closed, an order having arrived the 
previous night interdicting all worship, some relapsed, 
or some children of the newly converted having 
entered during a previous service. Weeping and 
sighing the people threw themselves into each other's 
arms, or with clasped hands lifted their eyes to heaven. 
They dared not stop in the neighbourhood, and in re- 
turning some, probably infants, for they had among 
tbem twenty-four, died. 

These children had been brought to receive the 
initiatory rite of communion with the Church, for the 
persecutors, who spared no pains to suppress the 
preaching of the Word and pubhc worship, who feared 
not to tread down the most sacred rights of humanity, 
shrank from interfering with the Huguenot cere- 
monials of baptism and marriage, the pastors perform- 
iug them under the eyes of the authorities. 

In 1 685, Bossuet was fifty- eight years of age ; Bour- 
daloue, fifty-three; Fenelon, thirty-four; in the very 
prime, therefore, of life, and from their positions as 
well able as any men to know what was going on in 
France. Bourdaloue, a Jesuit and a court preacher, 
representing Eeligion at Versailles, as Turenne had 
represented War, and Racine the Drama, Bourdaloue 
could not fail to have known all that was known at 
Versailles. Fenelon was director of an institution in 
Paris specially founded for the reception of Huguenot 
girls who had been made converts to the Roman 
Catholic religion. The detail might very well have 
been unknown to them, but they could not fail to have 
been aware of the general character of the persecution 
and the frightful turn it took in this same year, 1685. 
Yet it was in May of that year, at an assembly of 
the clergy, that Louis was not only complimented on 


tlie success of his efforts to extirpate heresy^ but tlie 
Bishop of Valence poetically remarked that the king 
had led wanderers^ who perhaps might never other- 
wise have returned to the bosom of the Churchy hij a 
road strewn until flowers. As this bishop, coming from 
the Dauphine, could not have been ignorant of the 
fiicts, and as there is no reason to suppose he was 
mocking his hearers, we must charitably conclude that 
he really thought so ; but in that case what a light on. 
the sufferings of the Dauphino for generations, on the 
nature of the pontifical absolutism under which they 
groaned, on the notions of Christianity entertained by 
the prelates of the Galilean Church. 

About the very time that Monseigneur de Valence 
was uttering this pretty nonsense, the Dragonnades 
recommenced with greater cruelty than ever. 

Certain troops having been cantoned in Beam to 
watch the Spanish army, and a truce having been 
proclaimed, Louvois thought he would turn them to 
account as missioners. Accordingly in July, 1685, the 
very mouth that English Nonconformity received such 
a blow at the battle of Sedgemoor, the commander of 
the troops, Boufflers, and Foucault, the intendant of 
the province, received orders to take in hand the con- 
version of the Huguenots. 

The subjects of their efforts were immediately in- 
formed that they must return to the Catholic unity, 
and some hundreds were at once forced into a church, 
where the Bishop of Lescar officiated, beaten until 
they fell on their knees, when they were absolved of 
their heresy, and told they would be punished if they 
relapsed. The Huguenots everywhere fled into the 
forests, deserts, caverns of the Pyrenees, but being 
pursued, were driven back to their houses, where they 
were subjected to cruelties surpassing those practised 
in Poitou. 


The soldiers rushed about their houses with drawn 
swords, crying, ' Tug, iue, on Gatlioliqnes.' They sacked 
the place, broke up the furniture, sold the things to 
the peasants; they repeated their usual violence 
against the persons of their victims. But in addition, 
at the express command of the intendant, Foucault, 
they commenced a maddening torture. They were to 
keep awake those whom they could not convert by 
other torments. By beating drums, by blasphemous 
cries, by pitching the furniture about, they kept 
these unhappy beings in continual agitation; and when 
these means failed, they tied them up by their heels 
until they were almost dead, or they brought burning 
coals near their heads, or applied them to various parts 
of their body. They pinched them, pricked them, 
dragged them about, blew tobacco smoke up their 
noses ; there was no cruelty, however mean, or small, 
or barbarous, which came into their heads, that tbey 
did not practise. As to the women, the insults they 
had to endure canuot be described. They had no 
pity on their victims until they saw them fainting 
away, then they recovered them, but only to begin 
afresh their tortures. 

This method of conversion was so effectual that out 
of 25,000 members of the Reformed Church in Beam 
only 1,000 remained firm. The triumph was cele- 
brated by a grand mass, and by processions in which 
the converts were paraded. 

From Beam the conquering troops marched to 
Montauban, where the same process was repeated with 
the same results ; out of the twelve or fifteen thousand 
persons of which this important Church was composed, 
only twenty or thirty families saved themselves by 
flight into the woods or adjacent country. The ruin 
of the Church of Montauban was followed by all the 
others in its neighbourhood. Realmont^ Bruniquel, 



Negrepelisse_, etc., severally passed througli a similar 

The fate of the Churches of Lower Guienne and 
Perigord was equally sad, and to show that the final 
apostasy was one which we should not, even if we had 
the heart, dare to blame, we will relate the case of 
Bergerac on the Dordogne. 

This town, to-day only numbering some 12,000 
inhabitants, contained at this time, it is said, a popula- 
tion of 50,000, and was from its commercial activity 
a serious rival to Bordeaux. For three years it had 
been harassed by the soldiers who, in the expressive 
language of an eye-witness of the Mission hottoe, ^ had 
eaten it up to the bones.^ Two companies of cavalry 
were first sent, merely to observe the inhabitants, 
thirty-two other companies soon followed. Then came 
the commander Boufflers and the intendant Foucault, 
accompanied by the bishops of Agen and Perigueux. 
Two hundred of the citizens were summoned to tlie 
Hotel de Ville, and told that the king willed that they 
should go to mass, and that if they did not do it 
willingly they would be forced to constrain them. 
The citizens unanimously declared that their lives and 
property were in the hands of his majesty, but God 
alone was the Master of their conscience, and that they 
resolved to suff'er all rather than disobey its monitions ; 
upon which they were told to prepare to receive a 
punishment worthy such obstinacy. Thirty-two more 
companies of cavalry and infantry were then sent for, 
which, with the thirty -four already in the town, made 
sixty-six, which were quartered on the Protestants, 
with the injunction to exercise upon their hosts every 
sort of violence until they had extorted from them a 
promise to do all that was ordered. This injunction 
having been faithfully carried out, the miserable victims 
were again taken to tlie Hotel de Ville, where being 


again pressed to change their religion they declared 
with tears in their eyes that they could not. Upon 
which thirty-four more companies were sent for, so 
that now the Protestants of Bergerac were delivered 
over to one hundred companies of soldiers,, who acted 
as wolves among a flock of sheep. A whole com- 
pany would be lodged in one house, costing a man 
who was not worth 10,000 livres, 150 livres a day, 
merely for their maintenance. When they had thus 
ruined their hosts thej sold off their furniture at a 
nominal price. But this was not all : they tied up by 
the neck the various members of the family, father, 
mother, children, keeping watch that no one should 
come to assist them, and kept them in this state for 
two, three, four, five, and six days without food or any- 
thing to drink, and without permitting them to go to 
sleep. ^Ah ! my father, ah ! my mother, I can bear it 
no longer ! ' cries from one side a child in a dying voice. 
'Alas ! my heart begins to fail me!' cries the wife; and 
the brutal soldiery, far from being touched, torment 
them only the more, terrifying them with menaces 
uttered with horrid oaths. 'You dog, B . . . 
won't you be converted ? won't you listen to us? You 
shall be converted. You dog, B . . . this is what 
we've come for.' At which the priests who stood by 
only laughed. Of course, for it could have but one end, 
nature could hold out for a certain time, but at last all 
gave in, crushed by tortures fiends only could conceive. 
There was no safety but in flight, and when the troops 
arrived at Bordeaux, the greater part of the mer- 
chants fled, abandoning their houses and their property. 
The terror inspired was so great that there was no 
more need of violence. It was enough to speak of the 
dragoons to bring every one to his knees. A reign of 
terror had succeeded ; it was a lesson the French people 
did not forget. 


The klng^s council was itself astonislied at the 
success of this last effort. Louvois wrote to his 
father^ the chancellor, Le Tellier : ^16,000 conversions 
have been made in the whole of Bordeaux, and 20,000 
in that of Montauban. The rapidity with which the 
affair proceeds is such that before the end of the 
month there will not remain 10,000 religionaries in 
all Bordeaux, where there were 100,000 the 15th of 
last month.' 

This letter was written early in September, 1685; 
on the 22nd of the same month the Marquis de 
Montanegre arrived at Ninies with two companies of 
dragoons to carry out an edict of the previous July, 
interdicting for ever the exercise of the pretended 
Reformed religion in the episcopal cities, an edict de- 
manded by the assembly of the clergy held at Ver- 
sailles, in which the flowery Bishop of Valence had 
complimented Louis on the extreme grace with which 
he had managed his missions. 

The Marquis de Montanegre was kind enough to 
allow the Nimois Reformed Church to assemble in 
their temple for the last time. Cheiron, the leading- 
pastor among the moderates, ascended the pulpit and 
preached a pathetic discourse, in which he appealed to 
the congregation to persevere at every cost and every 
sacrifice, even to death, in order to obtain the crown 
of the martyrs glorified on high. 'We swear it!' cried 
a multitude of voices amidst a burst of sighs and tears, 
sobs and lamentations. 

The next morning the authorities, followed by a 
crowd of people, arrived to close the temple officially. 
Cheiron and another pastor, Paulhan, were on the 
door- steps, and as they approached, Paulhan exclaimed 
in despair, ' No more temple, no more life V 'It is 
not the time to groan or lament/ said the royal official, 
' but to conform docilely and without resistance to the 


will of til e monarch/ Seals were then placed on the 
door, and a temple in which the hymn of praise and the 
preaching of the Word had gone on for a hundred and 
nineteen years was finally closed. In a few days, Elie 
Cheiron and Pierre Paulhan themselves illustrated the 
truth of Paulhan^s exclamation, for they both abjured 
the Reformed faith and received the kiss of peace from 
the Bishop of Nimes. 

The total number of conversions brought about by 
the Mission hottee was reported as 250,000. The 
work of demolishing the Huguenot temples went on 
with equal speed. The following is a list of the 
temples condemned during the first fortnight in Sep- 
tember, 1685, twenty-nine in all : 

1st. Vans, Fraissinet, and Saint- Julien d^Arpaon. 

3rd. Sauve, Aulas, Saint Martin, Lansuscle, and 
Barre to disappear. 

4th. Valleraugue and Yebron. 

5tli. Bourdeaux to be razed to the foundation. 
Saint Christol near Alais, Tournac near 
Anduze, and Branoux. 

6th. Salavas and Pompidou. 

7th. Anduze, Cardet, Ribaute, Lagorce, and Saint 
Martin de Boubeaux to be demolished. 

9th. Puylaurens, the material to be used in re- 
building the Catholic church of that 
town ; Pons, to become a house for the 
education of female children of the new 

13th. Mondardie, Meyrueis, Vallerauve, Great 
Gallargues, Aulas, and Tournac, all 
pulled down this day. 

The demolition of the synagogues of Satan extended 
to private houses. It was enough that a preaching 
had taken place in a house, even by a layman, for the 


house to be razed to the ground. On the 14th of 
September, Louvois warns the intendant Baville that 
the minister Havart has preached in four houses in a 
place called La Salle in the Cevennes, and he is to 
order the Duke of Noailles to raze these houses even 
with the ground^ his majesty being well persuaded 
that such an example will remove any desire on the 
part of the religionaries to lend their houses for 
preaching, to the prejudice of the laws. 

The same exterminatory zeal committed to the 
flames religious books published by the Huguenots. 
Thus, at Bergerac, the newly converted were required 
to deliver them up, when they were all burnt in the 
street (Sept. 27th). 

By October the people were flying in all directions, 
seeking sea-ports like Nantes, or if towards the east, 
striving to get into Switzerland. The faithful among 
the nobility and gentry — and we may be sure that to 
have remained faithful in such an hour they must have 
been men and women of the purest metal — these great 
souls shone brightly. Their cJidteauXj still surrounded 
in the eyes of courtiers with a certain sacredness, were 
points of refuge for fugitives, and to this very period 
had maintained the right of public worship. They 
now received warnings, interdictions ; nevertheless 
several of these noble ladies had the courage to go 
from house to house sustaining the weak and animat- 
ino- their couragfe. On the 8bh of October, Louvois 
issues an order to confine all such ladies to their 
own houses, and put a guard at their expense. 

A letter of the eminent Jean Claude (1619), the last 
of the pastors of Charenton, written to his son on 
the 12th of October, depicts the sorrowful state of 
the ruined Churches. ^All Lower Languedoc has 
yielded; Anjou nearly the same. What will be the 
success of the storm God only knows ; but already I 


Lave no hopes of three quarters and a half. Many are 
called, but few are chosen. As to myself, I shall 
stand firm, please God, until the end, and do not 
dream of going away until the last extremity. God 
will give me the grace to glorify Him until the end. 
I look to His pity for this."* 

Five days after this letter was written, on the 1 7th 
of October, Louis XIV. signed the Edict of Revocation. 
The next day it was taken to the chancellor, Le Tellier, 
who sealed it with the great seal of France. When he 
had done this, the old man expressed his joy in the 
words of Simeon : ^ Now let Thy servant depart in 
peace, for mine eyes ha,ve seen Thy salvation.^ So at 
least it is said, and we have Bossuet's authority for 
saying that such were indeed his sentiments on the 
occasion. Six days after he died. 


Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 

The revocatory edict suppressed the legal exercise of 
the Reformed worship in France. All pastors were 
•to quit the kingdom in a fortnight, under penalty of 
being sent to the galleys. If they abjured, they were 
to have a salary one- third larger than they ah-eady 
enjoyed, with a half revertible to their widows ; 
the expense of academic studies was to be defrayed 
if they wished to enter at the bar. Parents were 
forbidden to instruct their children in the pretended 
Reformed religion, but were eujoined to have them 
baptized and send them to Catholic churches, under 
a penalty of 500 francs. All refugees were to return 
to France within four months, under penalty of the 
confiscation of their property. No religionists were 
to attempt to emigrate, under penalty of being 


sent to the galleys if meD_, and seclusion for life if 

Such were the terms of this infamous edict. If 
ever the throne of wickedness framed mischief by 
statute it was on this occasion.^ 

Sydney Smith is reported to have advised men to 
take short views of life. In history the reverse is the 
only wise plan. Examine^ reader^ the history of 
another century, and then you will be able to judge 
if Le Tellier or his master had any reason to con- 
gratulate themselves on the fatal work of this 18th of 
October, 1685. 

1 Ps. xciv. 20. 


{Sec page 125.) 

Psaume LXVIII, 

Melodie dc xxxvi., do Matthieu Gkeiter antcricure a 1530. 








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?rre?ormS in France from the da«n 

Princeton Theological Semnary-Speer bbrary ^ 

1012 00037 3326